Boys & Girls Volleyball Opportunities Abound

The Anthony Wayne Junior Generals Travel Volleyball team, for girls in grades 3-6, will launch its third season this fall, with tryouts held in July. The Anthony Wayne Youth Foundation offers several volleyball programs for boys and girls. For more information, visit www.https://awyf.sportngin.com/. PHOTO COURTESY OF AWYF

BY KAREN GERHARDINGER | MIRROR REPORTER — The Anthony Wayne Youth Foundation (AWYF) is offering several opportunities for kids to get into the game of volleyball.

Boys Clinic

This Saturday, April 13 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., boys in fourth through eighth grade can take part in a clinic at Anthony Wayne High School. 

Hosted by the Anthony Wayne Boys Club Volleyball (AWBCVB) program, the skills clinic will be led by players and coaches who teach about positions and rotations, as well as various skills such as passing, hitting and serving. No prior experience in volleyball is necessary. 

The cost is $20.00 per player and walk-ins are welcome. Wear athletic clothing and clean athletic shoes. Bring a filled water bottle. Pizza will be served after the clinic. 

Players and the public are welcome to stay for the 2:00 p.m. game of the high school boys volleyball team against Perrysburg.

Boys Volleyball

Last year, the Anthony Wayne Boys Club Volleyball team made its debut, wrapping up its first year undefeated, said AWBCVB president Betsy Mulholland.

“We have two teams this year. Our varsity team is Team Blue and our JV team is our white team,” Mulholland said, noting that the season opener was March 11 against Swanton.

“We are trying to grow our program so that it can be an NLL sport in the future. To do that we really need to fill our stands at the games. We encourage everyone in the community to come out and support our team.”

Boys volleyball continues to grow in the area, with 10 teams including Perrysburg, Springfield, Start, Northview and Swanton.

“I highly encourage boys to get involved in the sport as it is quickly growing in Northwest Ohio,” Mulholland said.

For information about the club sport, follow AW Boys Club Volleyball on Instagram.

Anthony Wayne Junior Generals Volleyball

AWJRGVB is a summer rec volleyball program designed to introduce boys and girls in grades 3-6 to volleyball. Open to students in the Anthony Wayne and surrounding areas, the league takes place in June, with one practice and one scrimmage per week, said AWYF director Taylor Kervin.

The focus is on technical skills, team building and the fundamentals of volleyball. Each player will have an opportunity to practice the skills, led by a high school player as the coach. Meeting in the two gyms at Anthony Wayne High School, the third- and fourth-grade players practice and play on Tuesdays and Wednesdays while fifth- and sixth-graders meet on Mondays and Thursdays.

The cost is $100 per player and the registration deadline is Monday, May 20. For information, visit https://awyf.sportngin.com/.

Travel Volleyball Program

In 2021, coach Sarah Iceman introduced a travel volleyball program for girls in grades 3-6. 

The first two years exceeded all expectations, she said.

“Success is measured in many ways. Simply getting the girls excited, active and learning to love and play the game of volleyball is, above all, our biggest definition of success,” Iceman said. 

“Most of our younger players have never played before, and the growth is truly unbelievable. We try to combine superior fundamental training with electric and excitable visual and personal experiences as they watch and form relationships with the high school players.”

Each year, the girls match up with a “Big Sis” on the varsity team, while they make signs and get to be on the court at the beginning of the game for Junior General Night. 

“The varsity girls have been exceptional and go out of their way to make the younger girls feel special. We have pizza parties between practices and big home games and this year we all went to a University of Toledo volleyball game and had a private tour of the locker room, front-row seats and time with the players for some autographs after the game,” she said.

All teams play in two leagues: two Monday night games at Toledo Volleyball Club, practices on Tuesdays and Thursdays and one game in Defiance every Saturday, with the season concluding in early November, right before tryouts for area club teams.

“I would call it a success to see so many girls from our program smiling and excited about trying out for the next level – many of whom have had success and continue to play,” Iceman said.

Last season, in the Toledo Volleyball Club league, the travel teams brought home several trophies. Iceman credits the success of the program to coaches Sidney Smigelski, Jill Bryant, Alyssa Borcherdt and Angela Koehn. 

Elizabeth Rairigh and especially high school coach Chrissy Graven have been “irreplaceable pillars of the program,” who are detailed, dependable and hardworking, she said.

“I could not have started any of this without those two,” Iceman said.

As a fourth-grader, Iceman started playing the sport with Toledo Volleyball Club before playing for St. Ursula Academy, where she was first-team All-Ohio all four years. Iceman was also a member of the youth national team in 2004, competing in the world championships in Poland. 

An Ohio State University graduate with a degree in sports psychology, she moved back to the area and met her husband, Mike. Together they have three children who are in Anthony Wayne Local Schools: Emma is a student at Fallen Timbers Middle School, while Ethan and Isabelle are Whitehouse Primary School students. After helping her friend coach volleyball for St. Ursula, Iceman started coaching Emma’s team for Toledo Volleyball Club, where she is the head coach for the 11-year-old travel team. 

Tryouts will take place at the end of July.

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