The 2007 volleyball season got off to an early start yesterday, Monday, at the Northern Arizona University Lady Lumberjack camp held in Wilson Dome.
Daily sessions wrap up July 27 and regular season practices begin July 30.
During the NAU-hosted camp, about 16 aspiring players, entering grades four through 12, participated in morning sessions.
At the afternoon and evening sessions, 12 Lady Horn varsity hopefuls prepped in a team camp.
Among the skills the younger players learned were serving passing, digging, setting and defense. Sportsmanship and game rules were also stressed.
During the varsity camp, players worked in a team setting with goals of improving their overall offense and defense for the upcoming season.
Chris Campbell was on hand to oversee the sessions. He is entering his fourth season as head coach of the Northern Arizona University Lumberjack volleyball team.
Before taking over the Lumberjack reins, Campbell was the head coach at Mississippi University for Women.
Lady Longhorn coach Arnold Stonebrink said at the onset of the camp, he hoped the morning sessions would help generate interest in the sport among the younger set and the varsity sessions prepare his players for the regular season and a run at East region honors and a berth in the state tournament.
This year, the team must adjust to the loss of two veterans, Brooke Cannon and Tori Wilbanks, who were the backbone of the squad, the past two seasons.
Both graduated with the class of 2006 and have taken their act to the collegiate level.
Among those expected to take up the slack created by the loss of the two ex-Lady Horns are Jenna Robertson, Rose Hardt, Mollee Lee, Cydney Figueroa and Segan Cline.
Following a standout showing by the summer team in a June tournament at Blue Ridge High School, coach Arnold Stonebrink said the performances of the players proved "there is life after the loss" of Cannon and Wilbanks.
Stonebrink also returned from the tournament, convinced the team has the talent to make hardwood life in the East interesting for fans, players and coaches.
"The tournament was a great showcase for what Payson volleyball will be this year," he said.
Scrimmage date changed
In a late schedule change, new PHS athletic secretary Hannah Reedy said a preseason scrimmage originally set for Aug. 23 in Camp Verde has been moved to 5 p.m. Aug. 16 in Camp Verde.
The regular season, which was to begin Aug. 28 against Florence, will now begin Aug. 23 at Estrella Foothills.
The Aug. 28 game against Florence remains on the schedule.
All regular season games tip off at 4 for freshmen games, 5 for junior varsity and 6 p.m. for the varsity games.