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Focusing on fundamentals in volleyball
Ceres High summer clinic draws 50-plus participants
Nine-year-old Maddie Schultz was among the 50-plus participants at the 14th Annual Ceres High School Volleyball Camp this past week. - photo by DALE BUTLER/The Courier

Emphasis was placed on passing, setting, hitting, serving, blocking, serve receive, defense, communication and teamwork during the 14th Annual Ceres High School Volleyball Camp this past week.

Jaqueline Corsaut, Zoey Checketts, Maddie Schultz, Brooklyn Brinkley and Hope Cannella were among the 50-plus participants.

"I was pleased with the turnout, especially since it was a holiday week," said Darlene Tobler, head coach of Ceres High's varsity girls and boys volleyball programs.
"Coach Tobler posted something about the camp on social media and I saw it," said Michelle Brinkley, Brooklyn's mother. "I'm excited for this opportunity for her to learn something the right way."

The 2017 clinic was held, July 6-8, at Phil de la Porte Gymnasium.

Cost was $50 per athlete.

"Darlene does a really good job of teaching the fundamentals and making it fun for everyone," said Mike Corsaut, Jaqueline's father and former teach and softball coach at Ceres High.

Tobler provided instruction with help from lower-level coach Meliesa Stiles.

Former players Jessica Arreola (class of 2016) and Kendall Meyer (class of 2017), and current Bulldogs Madison Nash and Alyssa Stiles also assisted.

Kendall earned first-team all-WAC honors during her final season with Ceres High.

Madison was selected to the WAC Second Team as a junior.

Alyssa garnered honorable-mention recognition as a sophomore.

"Our camp would not be as successful without all of our helpers," Tobler said. "I'm so thankful for each of them."

Two sessions were offered during the three-day clinic.

Students in grades third to seventh practiced from 3-5 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, and from 9-11 a.m. on Saturday.

Students in grades 8-12 practiced from 5-7 p.m. the first two days, and 12-2 p.m. the final day.

Brooklyn, Jacqueline and Maddie were first-year participants.

Brooklyn, 8, did gymnastics for nearly five years.

She'll enter the third grade at Denair Elementary Charter Academy this fall.

"She wanted to try something else," Michelle said. "I love it. They break everything down very nicely. If she wants to try out later, she'll know what she's doing."

Jaqueline, 11, attends Roberts Ferry Union Elementary School in Waterford.

She'll be entering the sixth grade.

"This is the first sport she really wanted to try," Mike said. "I'm excited for her. She wants to learn how to play volleyball and get better at it."

Maddie's aunt Stephanie Hamilton coached Ceres High's varsity girls volleyball team for seven seasons. She led the Bulldogs to back-to-back Sac-Joaquin Section playoff appearances (2009, 2010). Cousin Valerie Hamilton (class of 2015) was a three-year player. She was an honorable-mention WAC selection as a senior.

"My mom is friends with her (Tobler)," said Maddie, 9, who will be a fifth-grade student at Sam Vaugh Elementary during the 2017-18 school year. "I've known her for a long time. That's part of the reason I wanted to come here. She's like an aunt to me."

Tobler graduated from Ceres High School in 1995.
She has coached volleyball at her alma mater for the past five years.

Tobler helped lead the Bulldogs' varsity boys volleyball team to its first-ever Sac-Joaquin Section playoff appearance this past spring.
Ceres High posted a 20-10 overall record and tied for second in the Western Athletic Conference standings (10-5) with Los Banos.

Ceres High's varsity girls volleyball team returned to the playoffs following a five-year absence and placed second in the WAC standings (9-6).