Coach Celli's volleyball camp expands ...

... Melrose sports venture producing champions

from Don Norris and Dick Collis

The grand old sport of volleyball is growing by leaps and bounds in
northeast America. Just take a look at Coach Scott Celli's roll call figures at his
annual mid-summer clinic, held for girls from little grammar school children
straight up with potential freshmen in high school.

This July was no exception as some 100 young ladies turned out for the two July
sessions, held at Middle School gymnasium. The word is getting around as two of the
enrollees came from new rival Wakefield, and another from perpectual opponent
Stoneham. The program seems to be an annual success, produced for the major part by
older girls already involved in the sport at the freshman. JV and varsity levels.

Enthusiasm abounds even with the smallest competitor, who discovers what one can do
with this shiney white ball. Hit it, beat it, smash it, pass it -- run, jump, dive -
- it's all part of this great sport. The point of the clinic is to get the
youngsters interested in the sport of volleyball.

This year's varsity will open the season against relative newcomer Bedford, one of
some half dozen non-Middlesex-League teams that have taken up the sport. The Lady
Raiders have a different schedule this season as the league separated teams from
heavier-populated towns -- such as Lexington, Reading, and newcomer Woburn -- into
the "larger" category, and placed schools from smaller towns (such as Melrose,
Stoneham and Belmont) into the "Small" category. The difference is that the Small
Schools will play each other twice, while playing the large schools only once.

And while the whole schedule was not completed at press deadline, the Raiders will
play some 22 games this season -- 16 of which will be official Middlesex League
competition. Wakefield joins the Middlesex League this year, in the small division,
while Woburn joins in the Large school category.

The Raiders will also take on the bigger non-league guns from Brockton (home),
Bishop Fenwick (away), Central Catholic (home), Cambridge Ringe and Latin (away),
Arlington Catholic (away), and Newton North (home). Training and qualifying will
begin in the last week of August.

The club will look very much like it did at the end of last season, when the Raiders
finished the season in the Division II State Finals. Only two major players were
graduated last June, so the competition for varsity placement will be stiff. All of
which looks good for the Raiders.

August 3, 2012

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