Volleyball camp -- from tykes to tomorrow's stars

... beginners get a dose of how it's done ...

from Don Norris

Anticipation. Wonderment. Encouragement ... am I good enough to make the
team ... The four-day volleyball camp at the new Middle School gym provided the
impetus for some 110 girls who want to learn the game -- and besides the three
faculty-coaches, the mentors are experienced players from the MHS varsity, JV
and freshman teams.

Volleyball camp at the Melrose Middle School is a gas. There's just nothing
like it going on around town -- oh, maybe a few baseball games, some
independent basketball on a homemade court, or maybe a swim at the Lloyd pool
on Tremont Street. But for 110 young women -- um, some still learning their
ABCs -- there's nothing better than becoming a part of the Melrose dynasty that
has dominated the Middlesex Volleyball League for ten years.

The program is produced by head Coach Scott Celli, but there are some thirty
young women who take part as instructors, councillors and maybe as comforters
after some tyke gets a faceful of a volleyball -- accidents do happen.
Assistant Coach Steve Wall takes part, as does the freshman coach, Andrea
Basteri. It is well-organized, runs for three hours daily for four days -- two
sessions -- and is (overheard on the court) 'a real blast'.

The Melrose season begins on Wednesday, Sept. 7, at Bedford High School, which
is a non-league game that still counts when it comes to picking who gets to
play in post-season competition. The Middlesex League has changed this season,
adding Arlington and Wilmington to the list. Further, competition has been
modified to two classes within the league -- determined by school population.
Reading and Arlington are large-school entries, which Melrose will play only
once during the season; while all the rest -- considered small-schools -- on
the schedule will meet twice.

The MIAA -- Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association -- permits team
practice (in volleyball) beginning on August 25, which provides only two weeks
to prepare teams. Many of the advanced players, however, have been anticipating
in non-school competition -- such as Yankee Volleyball Association --
throughout the summer.

Coach Celli puts up four nets in the new Middle School gymnasium -- a huge,
beautiful modern place where Melrose's youth learn they have both muscles and
the ability to become better -- athletically. He divides his crew (drawn from
all three squads, varsity, JVs and freshmen) into a teaching staff, passing
along the knowledge they have picked up over their three years of competition.

At the left is head coach Scott Celli, who was recently inducted into the
Massachusetts' Coaches Hall of Fame; Coach Steve Wall, freshman Coach Andrea
Basteri (in orange) and MHS Alum Athena Ziavras, Boston Globe all-star hitter.
The coach's philosophy is, "Get 'em while they're still young."

August 5, 2011

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