A total of 34 middle school students and incoming freshmen got a crash course in volleyball this week while getting an up close and personal look at what could be in store for them if they continue with the sport.

The Del Norte High School volleyball program held its annual volleyball camp for all middle school and incoming freshmen girls this week. Campers spent four hours apiece on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday getting pointers from and competing with past and present Warriors.

Although the camp has been held each year for about 18 years, 2017 is the first time the camp has been in the Foursquare Church gym, due to the construction currently underway at the high school.

“I would like to thank Foursquare Church for letting us use their gym for free,” said Del Norte head volleyball coach Debbie Lorenzi. “Without that we would have been in trouble because the high school gym is closed right now. They even put up the nets for us and really took care of us.”

For Lorenzi, the goal of the camp is to introduce girls to the sport, as well as teach them some of the basic elements to be successful. It is also an opportunity for future Warriors to get a feel for the high school program.

“The goal of the camp is to try to get young kids interested and keep them interested in volleyball,” Lorenzi said. “We also want to get the junior high kids used to us so that they aren’t afraid of us. Sometimes kids are too afraid to try out, and we try to encourage them to try out. We let them all know what programs we have when they do come to high school.”

In order to accomplish those goals, Lorenzi said the campers participated in a lot of various drills to learn different skills. Lorenzi also set aside plenty of time to play games to keep the kids engaged.

“All three days we worked a lot on the basics. We went through some drills with them. Then we had about an hour a day of play,” Lorenzi said. “We had different types of games being played. The goal was to keep them busy and give them their money’s worth.”

Each of the 34 campers were given plenty of individual attention throughout the camp with a host of current and former Warrior players joining the Del Norte High School coaching staff to help out.

Coaches included newly hired College of the Redwoods head volleyball coach Petra Lorenzi; Humboldt State University setter Kayla Costello; Sarah Levi, who just finished her second and final year playing for CR; Regin Loftin, who plays volleyball for Shasta; and 2017 graduate Maddison Smedley.

“All of my other coaches were juniors and seniors with the high school team,” Lorenzi said. “So we had a variety of different coaches and a variety of skill levels. The high school girls played with the campers in games and stuff. I think that makes a good experience for these girls.

“I also think it is good for my girls to coach the young girls. That is a learning curve for them also. It is funny for me to hear my players tell the girls things that I tell them all the time.”

Lorenzi said the highlight of the camp for her was seeing the energy and competitiveness displayed by the campers all the way until the very end.

“On the last day, the eighth and ninth graders were really battling with each other,” she said. “The energy level was so high, and they seemed to be enjoying it, even in the last hour of camp.”

The camp also serves as a fundraiser for the high school program.

“It buys knee pads, socks and balls for us,” Lorenzi said.

Reach Michael Zogg at mzogg@triplicate.com.

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