By David Pan Weekly Herald sports editor
LYNNWOOD — The official start for volleyball tryouts is just days away but some high school and middle school players were getting a head start at Edmonds Community College.
Head coach Danielle Orong, her coaching staff and players spent last week helping players brush up on their skills at the school’s third annual youth camp.
The goal was to prepare players for the upcoming tryouts.
“Over the summer a lot of people don’t play volleyball,” Orong said. “They kind of take the summer off. So we’re refreshing their skills and getting them a lot of touches on the ball, so when they go on to their tryouts, they’ll be ready to go.”
Lauren Miller, who will be a freshman at Mountlake Terrace High School in the fall, found out about the camp through her mother, who is a student at the school.
“I wanted to get better at hitting, practice serving and just scrimmaging in games,” Miller said.
Miller started playing volleyball in seventh grade at Brier Terrace Middle School.
Her goal is to make outside hitter at Mountlake Terrace.
Unlike Miller, Emily Salcedo is a newcomer to the sport.
Salcedo, who will be an eighth-grader at Olympic View Middle School in Mukilteo, wanted to learn and improve on her basic skills.
She only started playing volleyball this year when some of her friends encouraged her to join them.
“I wanted to learn some volleyball skills because I’m not very great at it,” Salcedo said.
Salcedo plans to try out for the middle school team this year.
“I really wanted to get some practice,” she said. “I decided to go to camp with my buddies.”
Salcedo especially enjoys serving and picked up some tips from the Edmonds Community College players.
“I like serving the best,” she said. “They told me basically to pretend I’m really mad when I serve, so I can get a really good serve off.”
The more players become involved in the sport at a younger age, the better the overall talent pool becomes in the area, according to Orong.
“I believe it’s getting a lot stronger,” Orong said of the level of play in the Edmonds School District and the surrounding communities. “When you have colleges like Shoreline and us and Everett, we’re able to put on really good camps over the summer. We draw a lot of younger kids and getting them involved in the sport a lot sooner. That does help out with having stronger schools in the area.
Orong has an upbeat feeling about this year’s Edmonds Community College squad. The Tritons have five returning players and eight freshmen, a healthy increase in numbers.
New recruits include Cassidy Gill (Lynnwood), Jessica Boyle (Marysville), RaeAnn Bobadilla (Marysville), Molly Rawis (South Whidbey) and Cecilia Licciardi (Lake Stevens).
Edmonds finished 2-8 (fifth out of six teams) in the Northwest Athletic Association of Community College’s North Division in 2011.
“We’re way more talented than we were last year,” Orong said. “It should be an exciting year. Hopefully, our record will be a lot better than last year. I believe it will be because we have better players, better skill levels than last year.”