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Arnold volleyball team, under the guidance of a new head coach, working hard this July

Published: Jul. 10, 2020 at 9:53 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG) -The Arnold volleyball team is certainly putting in the time this July, and the team's new coach and the players are thrilled to be doing it.

The Marlins now under the guidance of head coach Alan Clements, who came out of retirement to take the job after a career coaching in the New York/New Jersey region.

The coach says he’s been ready to hit the floor with his new team ever since accepting the job last month. And he says, that exuberance is being matched by his players, in every way.

“The effort has been outstanding.” coach Clements told me shortly after his team’s workout Thursday morning. “We start practice at 7:30. I usually try to get here by seven or a little before. And I’ve always got six to a girls waiting for me when I get here. So it’s like they want to get in the gym and get the work in. And usually when we end practice there will be like one or two girls saying...I’ve got two girls that want to stay after and do extra today. You know so they definitely want to keep working.

"This is such a big deal." says senior-to-be Darcy Hawes. "Even from day one it's been the same every time we come in. We are so excited just to see each other and excited to play. To just go for everything and give it our all."

Another senior-to-be Sarah Livingston echoed that sentiment. "I missed it a lot. We were still doing workouts and conditioning and everything but it's different just being on the court and getting to play"

It should not be a surprise to see players so willing and eager to get to work, given they were forced away from the gym, away from each other for more than three months during the lockdown.

"After not being able to play with each other, just to get in and get some touches, every point it's just so exciting to be here and seeing each other" Dawes said.

"Volleyball is definitely not the same" says Livingstone "when you're not on the court with some of your teammates it's completely different being at home and now that you're back? I've never been more in love with volleyball then right now!"

As for the new coach, along with the attitude and work ethic of his new players, he's impressed with the skills the players are showing him.

"Well the talent level is really good." Clements said. "From what I understand the competition down here is really good as well. As to where we're going to fit in at this point I have no clue. Because I've never seen volleyball in Florida. I can only compare it to what I had in New York, New Jersey. And I would think we would be one of the top teams up there. But down here I hear it's competitive and everybody's good. So I'm kind of anxious to Get started and see where we do fit in."

And remember, all this time, all this work, in advance of a season that could start late...or not at all!

"We are hopeful that we're going to start on time." coach Clements said. 'I know the numbers have been high but whether we start July 27 or August 10 you know we're doing a lot of the things now that we would do in preseason anyway. So if we start August 10, our first match is the 18th I think we can still be ready for that. But it's going to be hard, it's not knowing. The thing is I don't think the girls are thinking about it I think the coaches are more. The girls are just loving playing and having a good time."

Says Dawes "After practice I get to thinking like maybe we won't have a season. But during, whenever we're playing, there's nothing else in my mind except playing and looking for the ball and keep going for it."

“It’s definitely weird just being in the gym knowing there’s not really a guarantee if we’re going to play or not.” adds Livingstone “But I know we’re all really excited to be here right now and we’re kind of making the most of everything.”

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