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Bonanza raises more than $2,000 for Juniors Volleyball Club

February 03, 2004|by Alicia Notarianni

alician@herald-mail.com

Over 100 people gathered Friday, Jan. 30, at the Williamsport Fire Hall for a bonanza to support the Washington County (WACO) Juniors Volleyball Club.

The club gives girls, ages 12 through 18, an opportunity to compete year-round, dedicating their nights, weekends and holidays to the game.

"You gotta really love it because you give up a lot," said Mary Brown, 42, whose daughter, Lauren Brown, 15, is a member of the club. "Girls in middle and high school may not really want to give up their Saturday nights, but they know they need to go to bed so they can get up and play their best."

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Dinner by Leiter's Fine Catering was served at 7 p.m. and dancing to tunes by DJ Total Eclipse began at 9 p.m. Chuck Weaver, 43, Juniors president and father of Cortney, 19, a former member and Chelsea, 14, a current member, estimated the bonanza raised about $2,000 to help pay for expenses such as dues, tournament fees, gym space and equipment.

Courtney Plume, 36, chairwoman of the event and mother of club member Ashley Plume, 15, said the Juniors Volleyball Club helps the players "keep their hands on the ball" year-round, resulting in outstanding skills. Most club members play volleyball in a summer league, play on school teams from August to November and participate in the Juniors club from November until May.

Club members often leave home around 6 a.m. for day tournaments, begin playing at 8 or 9 a.m. and return home around 10 or 11 p.m. Weekend tournaments are held at various east coast locations during long holiday weekends.

The club, which was organized in 1994, has about 70 members who play among seven teams.

"Volleyball is a popular sport in Washington County," said Emily Crabtree, 39, a Juniors coach. Everyone wants to play."

Parents are all for it. Along with volleyball skills, players learn commitment, responsibility and dedication, and get a shot at college scholarships.

Top team members from schools throughout Washington County try out for the club.

"The girls are pulled from diverse schools," Crabtree said. "They don't know each other going into it and they learn how to get along."

Weaver said a number of players from the program have gone on to receive full or partial scholarships to well-known colleges.

"Obviously playing WACO Juniors helped with that," he said.

Supporters contend that the club generates better players and better volleyball teams in Washington County. Washington County Juniors has produced four regional championship teams since its inception - most recently in 2002 when players went on to national competition in Utah - and Washington County public schools have held division 1A state championship titles since 1997.

"All you have to do is look at how many state championships the county has produced over the last 10 years and you know the club is doing something," Juniors coach Tim Cave said.

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