Archive for Thursday, June 21, 2007

Waves still being felt from fall’s championship

June 21, 2007

The Eudora High volleyball team may have wrapped up its state championship celebration last October, but the program is still letting the positive side effects of success soak in.

Last season's impressive postseason run could help Eudora volleyball blossom in years to come if enough young players take notice of the Cardinals' strong finish and take interest in the sport, Eudora coach Jill Stutler said.

Stutler is busy building for the future of Eudora volleyball: she is spending the offseason coaching a summer league team and administering three week-long camps. The camps help get players involved at an early age and help teach the players the fundamentals of the game.

She said the Cardinals' breakthrough campaign has helped establish interest for the upcoming season and bulk up enrollment in the camps.

"In our camps we've had our best turnout so far," Stutler said. "I think the exposure and the excitement have carried over to the summer."

Stutler said more than 60 players from grades one through six participated in the first camp of the summer, run earlier this month.

The coach is planning two more workshops for older players. Her middle and high school camps run from July 16 to July 20.

Some of the more immediate effects of the state title could be felt as soon as August, when the 2007 Eudora squad will enter the season as the reigning champion. Stutler said playing the role of the favorite rather than the underdog could take some getting used to.

"I think the girls understand that they'll have a bull's-eye on their backs throughout the season," Stutler said. "I think they're at a point where it's expected and they're willing to handle that type of pressure."

Eudora fans need not worry: the Cardinals' position at the top of the heap should not breed any complacency among members of the team. Stutler said the group's goals and work ethic remain unchanged, and the Class 4A title has given the players' attitudes and practice habits a boost.

"It has really solidified the reasons why we do the things we do each day," Stutler said. "During the course of a season things can get monotonous. Now all the kids have to do is look at their state ring to remind them that hard work does pay off."

All of the Eudora players are playing on Stutler's summer team. The summer league experience helps younger players learn the ropes from their older teammates before being thrown into the fire when the regular season begins.

The Eudora volleyball season officially gets under way Aug. 28 when the Cardinals travel to Basehor for the first match of the season.

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