By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes

Crystal DeMello’s first volleyball camp at McNary didn’t look like a program in transition with its third head coach in three years as more than 50 high school girls packed the gym floor.

“It’s exciting to see the girls ready to join a program and have the seniors lead a program,” DeMello said.

“Great leadership starts with a great program and they’re setting the tone and the pace. I love having that from the returners to the incoming freshmen.”

DeMello noted the participation has been strong all summer as 30 girls consistently attended open gyms twice a week through July. They used the workouts to get to know each other.

“Coming in as the new coach, I wanted to make sure that the girls and I are all on the same page,” DeMello said. “It’s always nice to settle in as a new coach and get to know the girls. I think that dynamic is really important.”

DeMello has been impressed by what she’s seen.

“They’re a great group of girls,” DeMello said. “They are coachable. They are inspiring. They push each other to the next level and that’s something that has to do with their own competitive drive.

“That’s not coachable. That’s something that’s innate and they’re pretty amazing.”

The Aug. 7-9 camp gave DeMello the chance to go back to fundamentals and get players ready for tryouts, beginning Aug. 14.

“Right before tryouts I like to break it all back down again and make sure that we’re all on the same page, keep it simple, get tons and tons of reps,” DeMello said.

That’s particularly important for freshmen.

“Sometimes it’s the first time that they’ve tried out so walking into tryouts they know what to expect, calm the nerves and make sure they’re set up for their best presentation for tryouts,” DeMello said.