Gabriela Sierra may be a setter, but standing up on a platform in front of a net at the Shoemaker High School gym, she felt right at home.

After all, she used to be an outside hitter.

“Since I haven’t worked on it, it’s kind of awkward,” Sierra joked about her technique. “It feels kind of weak sometimes, but I still work on whatever the coach tells me to.”

Sierra was one of 41 girls from the area that came to the gym on Thursday to work on their game at the Shoemaker Volleyball Camp.

The camp concludes today and has two sessions. The first is from 9 a.m. until noon and the second is from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m.

Huston-Tillotson University head coach Ronnie Kaase ran the camp, showing young players new drills and helping the young girls improve their game in time for the fall season.

The camp was open to everyone, not just girls playing for Shoemaker or its feeder schools. Lady Grey Wolves head coach Merdith Shaw-Moore said the camp gave kids an opportunity to learn from a coach at the next level, even if she has to face them in the fall.

“I felt like it was a great opportunity, not just for these young ladies, but for this program and for volleyball in this community to have somebody with a different aspect and mind frame of the game of volleyball to come in and share his knowledge of the game,” Shaw-Moore said.

Kaase divided the attendees into two groups during the afternoon session and started the first group out by lobbing balls up in the hitting drill.

The Lady Rams coach said that running the camp for middle school and high school players gives him the opportunity to set up a base foundation for the athletes.

“By the time most kids get to the senior level and college, they know it all,” Kaase said. “It’s harder to get into a coach’s way of coaching, whereas you come down to brand new players and they just ask what I want them to do.”

Sierra is coming into her senior season at Shoemaker and her leadership skills were on display. She took charge immediately during warm ups and was one of the first in line for drills.

“It’s stressful, but I’ve got to be able to lead my team no matter what,” Sierra said.

“I’ve got to show them and I’ve got to be a good leader.”

Sierra and the Shoemaker varsity team look to build upon a 2013 campaign in which the Lady Grey Wolves went 20-19 and posted the first winning season since the school opened in 2000.

And, hopefully, taking the next step.

“We’re going to work hard and work hard until we get to state,” Sierra said.

Shoemaker has a preseason scrimmage at Gatesville on Aug. 9 and is set to open the regular season at the Austin ISD Tournament Aug. 14-16.

Contact Albert Alvarado at

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