WAVE organization celebrating 10th anniversary
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on October 31, 2013 1:48 PM
Wayne Area Volleyball Enthusiasts is approaching its diamond anniversary and it's undoubtedly polished the game of quite a few players in Wayne County and surrounding areas since its inception in 2004.
Deanna Morris and Shelby Benton started WAVE with the intention of strengthening the volleyball program at Spring Creek High School.
While most high school coaches and athletic directors scoff at seeing their players participate on the club level due to the controversy that often surrounds AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) sports, WAVE encourages athletes to play other sports. The club has undoubtedly made an impact on volleyball in eastern North Carolina.
"One of the great things about coaching WAVE is most of the girls who I have coached have had a real passion for volleyball," Wayne Christian head coach Rick Moore said. "They want to be the best they can be, and are willing to put in the extra time and effort it takes to be the best they can be.
"In addition to the normal skills required in volleyball, one of the main things I try to teach them is how to stay focused and compete all the time because of the major differences in club and high school ball is the intensity of the competition.
"Every match is a dogfight."
Stronger and fundamentally-sound teams provide great learning tools for less-experienced squads at the club level. Knowledge players gain from those high-level matches is taken back to their respective high school teams.
And those teams usually experience some degree of success.
The past year has been a great example:
* Spring Creek recorded its best single-season win total (15) since earning a share of the Carolina 1-A Conference regular-season championship in 2007. League foe Princeton has won three straight league and tournament titles since 2011 and advanced to the past two N.C. High School Athletic Association eastern regional finals.
* Eastern Wayne toiled through a difficult non-conference and conference slate, and advanced to the third round of the 3-A playoffs for the first time since 2006.
* Rosewood posted its second 20-win season in the past four years and third overall since 2005.
"The teams with high numbers of club players have developed a steady high, low-level mistake style of play that at least in part comes from having played many years of intense club ball," Moore said.
Moore, along with Morris and other WAVE coaches, had to complete a USA Volleyball IMPACT Coaching course. They also attended a refereeing clinic to get a better understanding of the rules in the fast-paced, rally-point scoring sport.
Morris has been overwhelmed, and at the same time, delighted with the club's success. WAVE expanded into Wilson County last year and Morris hopes to introduce the sport to middle school boys through youth club volleyball.
"The board members along with all of our former and current coaches have helped WAVE become a strong, solid, respective (and) competitive program that will continue to help many more volleyball enthusiasts in years to come," Morris said.
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