Getting valuable volleyball experience at Coach K camp

RON JOHNSTON The Marietta Times Marietta High sophomore Maddy Muntz (standing) works with 9-year-old Mylee Lang of St. John Central in a setting drill at Coach K’s volleyball camp at Sutton Gymnasium Friday morning.

Alexus Carpenter and Maddy Muntz each is serving as an instructor at the 3-day Coach K Volleyball Camp at Marietta High’s Sutton Gymnasium.

Both are also MHS varsity netters, who helped the Ron Kidder-coached Tigers compile a solid 18-5 overall record last season.

“It’s a little different,” said Muntz of coaching the younger girls during Friday’s morning session from 9 to 10:30 a.m. “But I’m used to helping kids at Washington. So, it’s nice.”

The camp, which started Thursday and is scheduled to conclude Saturday, featured three sessions. The early morning one included grades 3-5. The next one for grades 6-8 ran from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and the last one for players entering grades 9-12 went from 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

“I think the kids look up to us and want to be like us, I guess,” smiled Muntz, a sophomore defensive specialist/setter/outside hitter. “A few of them have been to the varsity games and remember us.

“Most of the time, they’re trying to get it. I feel like they want to learn and want to get better.”

Carpenter agreed.

“I think the camp is pretty beneficial,” said the Marietta senior defensive specialist/passer. “It allows kids at younger ages to get experience and learn more skills. You can see the improvement day to day.”

Kidder, last year’s District 13 Ohio Division I Coach of the Year, said there were “about 130 total kids in camp this year.”

“There’s a lot of interest in volleyball,” he said. “We have a lot of kids from different areas here, including one from Kentucky. She’s a setter, and she has family in the area.

“The camp seems to be getting bigger every year. It’s growing, and I have a great staff.”

Some other people assisting Kidder were Kevin Guinn of ALETA VBC, Abby Witucky of Wheeling Jesuit, Hannah McMichael, and Kristin Hill

The opening session for the third, fourth and fifth graders is relatively new.

“We just started that one about four years ago,” Kidder said. “I think the first year we had it, we had eight kids.”

The coach paused.

“We had to figure out how to get the word out a little bit more,” he continued. “Now, we’re up to 50-some.”

According to Kidder, the camp is all about learning the fundamentals of the game of volleyball and having fun.

“We put them in stations for hitting, serving, setting, and passing,” he said. “All the groups seem pretty excited this year.”

During the last session of the day, “the older kids (including Carpenter and Muntz) do more playing,” Kidder said.

“It’s almost like a practice,” the Tigers coach said. “But we have kids from other schools in the area.”