After a rough 2016, Camp Verde High volleyball has a new outlook this season.
Second year head coach Britney Armstrong emphasized a positive attitude last year as the Cowboys went 2-15, 2-8 in region play and is seeing more this season already.
“We used to say last year ‘have a positude,’ so positive attitude and they were all just expressing the positude they had,” Armstrong said.
A positive attitude is very important to success in volleyball Armstrong said.
“This sport is a total momentum sport,” Armstrong said. “You might make a mistake and then you literally get the ball again on the next play. You just have to be able to transition so quickly. It’s not like some other sports like softball, ‘oh I missed that pop fly’ well she might not get another one for a couple innings. They gotta be able to rebound really, really quickly so I always try to tell them ‘hey, you guys got to be mentally tough in this sport. There is no room to get down on yourselves because you might get the ball again so you have to stay positive and just learn from your mistake.’”
Many players came in during the summer to work on their games.
“I think we’re looking really good,” said Camp Verde senior Jade Oium. “We have a lot of dedicated girls this year that are really willing to put their bodies on the line to really make it a successful season.”
Camp Verde opened the season with a 3-0 loss at Anthem Prep on Thursday. Their first home match is Sept. 12 against Payson, Armstrong’s alma mater.
Armstrong said that younger players told her that older players have helped them out, like saying where they should be on their rotation
“One particular player was just kind of nervous and another girl said ‘hey, we got your back,’” Armstrong said. “It was just a lot on unity and a lot of selflessness.”
Oium said the Cowboys started the year as good as they got last season.
“Last year it was a lot of laying the groundwork, a lot of laying the foundation, so I think this year we’re building the framework, basically putting the house together,” Oium said. “We’re adding harder stuff, harder skills, we didn’t have to start from the bare minimum, we started from a higher level and now we’re working even higher.”
Armstrong became head coach last season after serving as an assistant. In 2015, the Cowboys went 2-18, 3-14 in 2014, they finished 8-21 in 2013 and were 11-12 in 2012.
“In the past we were not able to really identify what the heck was going on,” said Camp Verde assistant coach Susan Holm. “There was so many things systemically going wrong and now because we’ve worked on some things, it’s just clearer. The girls have a better foundation and it’s just clearer what needs to happen and what we need to work on. They’re doing a great job at practices just really narrowing in on that.”
The Cowboys feature four seniors, led by Oium.
“We’re seeing a lot of growth with some of our seniors, with the attitude especially because they were all here last year, they heard a lot of the attitude speech, attitude speech,” Armstrong said.
Among the juniors, Grace Moore has impressed.
“She’s just done phenomenally with her attitude and being a leader to the girls,” Armstrong said. “She played last year as a defense and we’ve kinda been working with her on setting, so she’s real versatile in that sense.”
Camp Verde has a handful of underclassmen on varsity, like freshman Maya Hedges, who practiced with the team all summer long and has wowed the coaches with her versatility.
“It’s hard to point out just a couple,” Armstrong said. “I could say something about every single one of them. The presence this summer has been huge, a lot of girls came in the offseason and they’ve really been working and it’s really been showing.”
The Cowboys will have played in two tournaments, Goldwater Volleyball Festival and the 7th Annual Spartan Classic, plus three true road matches before they play at home. They face Chino Valley at home on Sept. 27 and Sedona Red Rock in Camp Verde on Oct. 19.
“It’s going to be the same exact schedule as last year but basically flip flopped,” Armstrong said. “So we know we’re going to come out fighting against Sedona, Payson, Glendale Prep, Chino, who we play Tuesday, so there’s definitely some contenders there.”
Oium said the Cowboys didn’t communicate well last year and that they were more focused on individual than team success.
“I feel like this year we work as a team of six, to really want to have a good, successful game and to really work as a team to win,” Oium said.