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Calvary volleyball program has sense of optimism

The Calvary Lutheran volleyball program got a double dose of good news this summer.

Not only have the Lady Lions added a big class of freshmen to their roster, but they’re talented as well.

Calvary, which just completed its summer camp Thursday, graduated two seniors off last year’s team. But they’ll add five players, as of now, when practice starts in the fall, and the entire roster sits at 16 players.

“That’s better numbers than I had last year and definitely better than my first two years here,” Calvary coach Nikki Kueck said. “We’re definitely growing and building the program.”

She’s especially excited about the incoming players.

“I’m very impressed with the skill level we have coming in this year, especially considering my first two years, I had people playing that had never played volleyball before,” Kueck said. “Now we have girls who have played since third or fourth grade. With them having five years of experience, it’s really a good thing. Some of these freshmen could really be an asset on our varsity squad this year. They’ve got good skills, good abilities that are really going to help us out in different positions.

“I’m very excited about the potential that we have this year. I really think we could almost hit .500 this year, which would be a first for our program.”

To that end, a large portion of the varsity sessions of the camp centered around getting the players accustomed to each other. The Lady Lions will continue that quest today when the team travels to the Licking Summer Camp.

“We’ve been working hard, really getting the freshmen involved and acclimated with what’s going on,” Kueck said. “... We worked a lot on the fundamentals, reviewing and making sure everybody’s on the same page, unifying to make sure we know what’s going on when we step on the court. Whatever the mix is, we all need to know what our responsibilities are and what the roles are on the court so we can take care of those jobs.”

Kueck and assistant coach Jonathan Kueck, her husband, will also take the Lady Lions to the University of Central Missouri individual camp set for July 11-13.

“Our first two years coaching, we didn’t do anything in the summer, partly because we just came here and then we didn’t have enough girls,” Nikki Kueck said. “Last summer, we started doing some extra stuff and this summer I’ve really taken it a step further and am really pushing the girls.”

Calvary also added some sessions for younger girls to this year’s camp, as there was one for grades 4-6 and another for grades 7-8.

It’s the last time the camp will be held at Trinity Lutheran, as construction has begun on Calvary’s on-campus gym.

“We’re already telling the campers we’ll be in our new gym next year,” Kueck said. “That’s really an exciting thing, knowing we’ll have our own facilities.

“Spring training will be a lot easier, because we’ll be at our own facility and we won’t have to worry about transportation. I’m really excited for the fact we’re going to have a new gym sometime this school year. I know it won’t be finished during volleyball season, but we’ll get to use it in the spring as we start going forward.”

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