Editor’s note: The Democrat Sports Department has recently learned that girls head volleyball coach Tyler Krieger will not return for his second season due to job logistics. Sharon Hardy will replace him for the upcoming season and coach daughter Kylee’s senior season. Hardy previously coached another daughter, Lindsay (Ingles), and “The Fab Five” in their successful playoff runs for the Lady Cougars over a decade ago.
Kristen Van Gilder is looking forward to the upcoming high school volleyball season.
A junior, Van Gilder is vying for playing time on this year’s El Dorado High volleyball team and was one of 60 girls that participated in the inaugural El Dorado General Skills Camp held recently inside the Cougars’ big gym.
“It’s been fun,” Van Gilder said.
The camp was broken into two sessions: first through eighth graders took part in the early morning sessions while the high school players participated in the late morning drills. According to El Dorado head coach Tyler Krieger, 28 youngsters took part in the youth camp.
Krieger, entering his second season in running the Cougars’ spiker’s program, and other coaches had the girls work on various skills and all aspects of the game.
“The younger ages don’t like specializing in certain positions yet,” Krieger said. “We teach everybody — the tall ones and the short ones.”
Most of the skills for the sport of volleyball were taught during the four-day camp, Krieger said. He feels that the younger players who will be playing on the Cougar junior varsity and freshman teams benefit from the camp to get a head start for the 2012 season.
“We try to throw bits and pieces over the four days,” Krieger said.
Ball control was one of the drills that the girls practiced after warm ups and stretches. Krieger and his coaching staff then had them progress to defensive moves that help prevent the other team from scoring through serving.
“I’m a little rusty on my hitting but getting better,” Van Guilder said.
Advanced hitting and scrimmages were also some of the drills performed inside the spacious gym.
This year’s Lady Cougars are looking to reload after losing eight seniors from last year’s team to graduation. Three of the four seniors returning to this year’s team made All-Sierra Valley Conference last fall.
“That’s comforting and exciting as a coach knowing that we have some good talent as far as in the league and in the area,” Krieger said.
One player who has made a good impression in the skills camp is senior middle blocker Courtney Macklin, who started playing volleyball last season.
“She has made huge strides in only her second season of volleyball,” Krieger said.
Three juniors, including Van Gilder, make up for the other girls who took part in the camp. Outside hitter Julia Kirk, who started last season as a sophomore, also returns along with sophomore setter Sabrina Tate and defensive specialist Piper Raleigh.
“I’m excited about having (practices) before school starts,” said Krieger in reference to classes that start tomorrow. ”I’m use to that, coming from Southern California (where he coached before moving to the Sacramento area).
Van Guilder added, “We have a lot of good players.”
El Dorado will start its season Tuesday, Aug. 28 at Folsom, and begin conference play in the middle of September.
Contact Mike Bush at 530-344-5079 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @MBushMtDemo on Twitter.