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Chambers Academy adds volleyball

Deven Still practices spiking the ball during one of CA's "open gym" sessions.
Deven Still practices spiking the ball during one of CA’s “open gym” sessions.

There’s a new sport coming to town. For the first time in school history, Chambers Academy will field a girls’ volleyball team. Under the guidance of Coach Kayla Black, members of the team have already begun testing their ability in an “open gym” setting. “Open gym” is not mandatory, but allows Black and the players to go over basic skills of the game, which will be vital for this first year team. According to Black, the team is actively involved in conditioning as well.

Official practice will begin on July 18 and the season takes place from August to October.

In the final week before official practice starts, there are 12 girls on the team, though more could be added when school begins in August.

Black was responsible for organizing the team based on requests from students as well as her own background in the sport. Before joining the CA staff last year, she was the coach for the Columbus Juniors Volleyball Club in Columbus and participated in work-study in the volleyball office at LaGrange College while an undergrad there and has given private lessons for six years. In addition, she served as the recruiting coordinator and a graduate assistant coach for the Lagrange College swim team.

Black has an impressive resume on the field as she lettered in volleyball and lacrosse at LaGrange College after a high school career that also included basketball and softball. She was a four-year starter in volleyball at LaGrange as a setter and ranks fourth all-time on the school’s career assists list and tenth in career aces. “Athletics is my passion,” she says. “It is just something that comes natural to me and it is something I cannot envision myself not coaching on some level.”

For Black, this is an opportunity to share her knowledge with young athletes as well as open new doors for them. “This is another opportunity for some of our athletes to shine in a new sport,” she says, “and I would love to see more of our athletes be recruited to continue their career on the collegiate level.”

As for the Rebel team, there’s a lot to learn for this group. Many have never played the game, and none have done so on an organized level. But Black is confident in her coaching and the ability of the team.

“I see this team shocking some people this year,” Black says. “Our female athletes at Chambers Academy are extremely talented so I have no doubt that we will be able to be successful in taking on a new sport.”

The team will have appropriate settings as well; a new volleyball setup was constructed in the school gymnasium over the summer in anticipation of the new sport.