By Bruce Campbell, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
The most important aspect of the Enid High School volleyball team’s trip to Branson, Mo., for the three-day Licking Summer Camp wasn’t on the court.
It was the bonding the program went through with the freshmen, junior varsity and varsity teams coming together, said Pacers coach Steve Bloom.
“The young players look up to the older girls,’’ Bloom said. “I think it’s important, not just to have the individual groups together, but all of Enid volleyball. We got to spend a lot of quality time together.’’
That can translate to better communication on the court. Volleyball, Bloom said, is a sport where communication is vital, because so much teamwork is involved.
“We’re getting to know each other on and off the court,’’ Bloom said. “The biggest improvement we made was working better as a team. The better you know each other, the better you communciate on the court.’’
The team went from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., allowing teams to have their nights free for activities. Coupons were provided for teams to take in some of Branson’s sites.
“It was really nice,’’ Bloom said.
Bloom said the Pacers won the “bulk of their matches’’ in scrimmages against teams from Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois and Nebraska, among other places
The camp director tries to avoid matching teams from the same state.
“We were able to go against a lot of different teams with different styles,’’ Bloom said. “We were able to try different things. I was pleased with what I saw.’’
The camp allowed free substitution during a match, which allowed Bloom to to test how the Pacers would do in certain scenarios.
“There are times you’re more interested in seeing how a girl will do in a different position than you are the score (in the scrimmage),’’ Bloom said. “There are certain things you want to do in camp. It’s nice to get the win, but sometimes you might learn something more with the loss ... the camp went real well.
“We were able to try things freely and try different things against a different team. That’s what camps are for.’’
The Pacers beat Arkansas 5A champion Melton. They lost to Jonesboro, Ark., 25-23, 25-23, but later found out the net was four inches too high.
Grace Enmeier was an all-tournament selection. She and the Pacers’ other returning starters — junior McKenna James, senior Sarah Blakley, senior Chloe Cordell, senior Shaelyn Vaughn and junior Ashlon Halper —all played well.
“They are all more confident on the court,’’ Bloom said.
The Pacers are coming off a 25-10 season in which they lost to eventual state champion Tulsa Kelley in the regional finals. That was a huge improvement over the 12-21 record in 2011.
“I think we approached the camp the same way we always have had,’’ Bloom said. “It’s a new season and a lot of people are still trying to prove themselves. We have a lot of the same girls back, but there are a few positions that are open.’’
Bloom said the Pacers had some young players “who really stepped it up.’’
“We had a lot of people compliment us on the way we were playing,’’ Bloom said.
Enid has been practicing since July 1. They have been working on conditioning and weight training. EHS opens its season Aug. 15 against Union.