Lady Bullpups’ volleyball starts season |

Lady Bullpups’ volleyball starts season

Elwood Shelton

April Sanchez knows that in a year, everything will change.

Everything will change because she will no longer be an eighth grader, and no longer be in the middle school volleyball program. But, until the end of the year, she will work on polishing her performance before her freshman debut, when the uphill climb once again starts.

“The thought that this is my last year before high school does cross my mind,” Sanchez said, “I feel that I need to keep progressing this year, so come my freshman year I’m ready to prove myself, and hopefully make a team higher than the freshmen.”

As of Monday, Diana Booco has been more than happy to help Sanchez and the other 26 Craig Middle School (CMS) eighth-grade girls get ready for this season, and the high school program, which is a mere year away.

Booco has been involved with the CMS volleyball program for several years as an assistant coach. This year, though, she will take the helm of the Lady Bullpups as the team’s head coach.

“I’ve always loved volleyball at every level that I’ve participated at it in from playing it in high school and college, to coaching it now,” she said. “It gives me a chance to stay involved with something I’ve always enjoyed doing.”

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In preparation for the season, and for higher level of volleyball, Booco has been taking the Lady Bullpups through the early-season movements of the sport, looking for crisp serves, straight sets and the utmost concentration from her girls.

Once the girls get their technique down pat, Booco hopes within the week, she will instate strategy into the player’s games. And, for many of the girls involved with volleyball, its the most difficult aspect of taking a step up athletically.

“When we start to put in our game plan is when we see the girls have the most trouble,” the coach said. “We run a 6-2 offense, which means we’ll only have two setters. This is difficult for the girls because up to this point, the volleyball they’ve played has had an entire team of setters.”

The move to position-orientated volleyball may place a mental stumbling block in the path of the eighth-grade girls, but Booco has a solution for that discipline.

Booco is no tyrant on the middle school hardwood, but demands a level of respect from her players not usually seen in the ranks of pre-high school athletics. It’s a level of respect that she hopes will prepare her girls for the next step in their volleyball careers.

“I want the girls to come out and have respect for everything and everyone involved with volleyball program,” she said. “And, working on discipline as an athlete means you’re building a good work ethic and fashioning yourself to move on in the sport.”

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