COPPERAS COVE – The Copperas Cove Lady Dawg volleyball program is learning how quickly the fortunes of a sports program can change with the basis of a solid summer camp system.

The 2007 Lady Dawg Volleyball Camp opened last week with countless sets of bright eyes and eager minds hoping to stoke their competitive fire and continue to keep Copperas Cove volleyball near the top.

Such was the case for the Lady Dawgs last season – their first year in District 16-4A – as Cove dashed past its competition and claimed second place behind perennial power Waco Midway.

The Lady Dawgs advanced to the Region II-4A quarterfinals and a subsequent 23-10 record behind third-year head coach Cari Lowery.

Lowery has amassed a 48-47 overall record while at the helm at Copperas Cove, with each of her teams improving their overall win total by seven matches per year.

Lowery said one of the reasons for the improvement of her team is the successful summer camp program.

"The more kids that are coming to the camp makes the program more successful. We have kids that have been coming to the camp for three years now and that is what builds the program.

"Instead of having to teach fundamentals to the kids in high school, they will already have the fundamentals of the game."

The Lady Dawg camp drew 170 campers compared to the 30 campers in Lowery's first Cove mini-camp three years ago.

The sudden increase of campers pleases Lowery, but not so much as to keep her from setting even more lofty attendance goals.

"My goal is to eventually have 500 kids at camp," Lowery said, adding. "With a town this size, I think that that is a legitimate goal."

And with the success that Lowery and her coaching staff has brought to Cove, that goal may be attained soon.

The campers were instructed on basic volleyball fundamentals, team drills and were also taught keywords to verbalize as they strike the ball to induce more in-depth concentration.

The phraseology remains consistent throughout the program, and for young campers, that process begins in the third grade.

They have a clear knowledge of the phrases by the time they begin their freshman year in high school.

Each instructor is given a certain discipline, which they are confident and highly qualified in, and pass it onto the campers.

Once each camper has been given the instruction, they are given the opportunity to execute what they have learned in a series of drills and ultimately a series of scrimmages at the end of camp.

After attempting to execute the drills, each player is evaluated on the skills they have learned in the camp.

"We want to make our kids fundamentally sound, love the game and eventually become better players," Lowery said of the camp's mission statement.

"You get out here and see so much potential that the kids have. It's exciting to see kids do things the right way for the first time and know that they will never forget that moment."

Contact Monty Campbell at or (254) 547-9173.

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