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Girls Volleyball Clinic a Hit With Players

Lucerne Valley Middle School Volleyball coaches Amanda Nichols and Sarah Courtney are passionate about their sport. So on March 5th the two invited a number of their fellow volleyball fanatics to conduct a one-day clinic at the Lucerne Valley Middle High School’s Sgt. Brian L. Walker Gymnasium.
The event attracted 25 players in grades 5 to 11 with various experience levels, from complete novice to seasoned varsity player. Each received a complimentary lunch, T-Shirt — and hours of expert guidance.
“There were a lot of younger players that are just starting to develop their skills, and they all showed amazing potential,” says Courtney. “They came excited and ready to learn. The older, more experienced girls got to work on more specific skills that will benefit them in the next volleyball season.”
The clinic had a veritable All-Star collection of volleyball players pitching in to pass along their tips for success on the court. Besides Amanda Nichols and Sarah Courtney, there was 2015 League MVP Destynie Urrutia, and a number of former varsity standouts, coaches and volunteers including Cassandra Woods, Elizabeth Shadwick, Kodi Daniels, Christina Lindsey, Kystiana Muller, Courtney Robinson, Destany Cagle, Junior Varsity Coach Kimberly Evans, and LVHS Varsity Coach Kimberly Morales. But the volleyball expert with the longest tenure was former Mustang coach Earl Johnson who started the school’s volleyball program in 1990s and was a math teacher and coach for 28 years until retiring in 2014.
When Mr. Johnson began coaching volleyball in Lucerne Valley, “We didn’t have two kids who could pass the ball,” he says. Starting from scratch, the Long Beach native used his skills learned in coastal recreational leagues to build the LVHS program into one of most successful athletic programs ever at the school. “We had seven straight years of winning league titles. We had some great years.”
During the recent clinic, Mr. Johnson and the others conducted a number of drills that included serving, hitting, blocking, setting, and more. “It was amazing having our coach from our high school days, Mr. Johnson, and a lot of the alumni girls help out,” Courtney says.
“The clinic turned out amazing,” says Nichols. “So many girls showed up ready to learn. “Everyone had a blast even the adults. I’m looking forward for the next one!”
Besides serving as a Middle School volleyball coach, Nichols is a Food Services staff member while Courtney is the president of the Lucerne Valley Elementary School’s Booster Club. The two are hoping to hold future volleyball clinics on a regular basis.
“We want to build the program back up to its former glory and bring some banners home, if possible,” Courtney says.