FAIRBORN — The main intent of the YMCA of Greater Dayton Spring Volleyball Leagues is to teach the youngsters the fundamentals of the game, build character and poise, while letting them enjoy playing the game.
Judging from Thursday night’s U-12 co-ed game between the Xenia YMCA White team and the host Fairborn YMCA, the kids are already doing all three.
In an exciting three-set match on May 24, Fairborn rallied to a 22-25, 25-21, 15-8 win.
Fairborn showed plenty of poise in the exciting third set. Decked out in their home blue jerseys, the Fairborn kids fell behind 5-0 in the decisive third-set race to 15 points. But the Fairborn players kept their cool, tied the set at 8-all, then pulled away to the final-set win.
Best of all, the two teams showed great sportsmanship after the match, with smiles on the faces of both teams’ players.
“It’s been a lot of fun coaching all of the kids,” said Fairborn U-12 coach Lee Shepherd. “I think it develops a lot of confidence for them, because they build that confidence within the team by being able to depend on each other, and to learn how to work with each other throughout a game and even at practice.”
Shepherd said the kids never reached for any sort of a panic button when Xenia was bashing overhead serves early on for a 5-0 lead.
“They all are in this for fun, and they know that. They don’t take it so serious, and I think that’s what helps them to stay calm and to stay confident throughout the game,” she said.
Fairborn YMCA Sports Director Codee Arthur echoed Shepherd’s sentiments regarding the league’s general purpose.
“It’s for youth development, so we’re in here teaching the kids the basic skills while enhancing their character,” Arthur said. “There hasn’t been a big recreational impact in both areas, so this is Xenia’s first go-around with the volleyball league, and it’s our first time in a league that was something other than an Open Gym-type of play. This provides instruction and skills, and helps develop the kids’ abilities.”
Xenia coach Clayton Brady said the primary reason the Xenia YMCA got involved was to help develop the younger kids’ volleyball skills at an early age. Most all of the kids in Thursday’s May 24 game were in the fifth or sixth grade this school year.
“The kids are mainly here to have fun, but also to learn new skills. Some of them have never played before, and they’re learning a lot of new skills and various ways to hit the ball,” Brady said.
The Fairborn team was comprised of Aubrie Daniel, Hailey Shepherd, Natalie Heyart, Brooklyn Phillips, MacKenzie Cartwright, Savannah Garcia, Nadine Heyart, Benjamin Roberts, Abby Paschal and Tessa Osborn.
Players on Xenia’s U-12 team are Alexis Edwards, Carma McCullough, Kylie Socrates, Taylor McCaslin, Hannah Goffee, Savannah Shumway, Brianna Pardue and Jordis Keck.
Brady was quick to credit Sports Director Marina Lyons for getting Xenia’s YMCA involved this season. With more than 32 girls interested in learning the sport of volleyball, Xenia fielded four league teams.
The YMCA of Greater Dayton Spring Volleyball league had teams from Xenia, Fairborn, Eaton and Kettering this season. League play began on April 7, and the final week of games are scheduled for next week. According to the YMCA league website, the final day of the 2018 season is June 9.
Contact John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.