WAKE FOREST — When Wake Forest Parks & Recreation opened registration for its first youth volleyball league, organizers expected about 40 to 50 players to sign up.
They got 131.
The turnout prompted Parks & Recreation director Ed Austin to put out a call for additional coaches.
Debbie Glaberman, a health and physical education teacher at Heritage Middle School, saw the need and volunteered.
In just a few weeks, she has seen growth in her players, many who have never played organized volleyball before.
During practice, instead of focusing on serves like many other teams, Glaberman ran a drill where she threw the ball off the net so players had to stay in a low position and make a play.
Tonight, in a game, it happened, Glaberman said after her Gold team lost to the leagues Purple team last week. To me, I dont care so much about the score, but to see that happen is beautiful. Theyre taking the skills we learned in isolation and implementing them in a game, and thats fantastic.
Rosters were selected at random with eight teams in the 9-12 age range and four teams in the 13-16 range.
Shannon Evans, who coaches the Purple team, is focusing on fundamentals.
Im trying to teach them pass, set, hit. ... I think its important for them to learn the rules of volleyball and real skills, so it can translate if they are interested in playing in high school or middle school, Evans said. Were just trying to teach the basic fundamentals in volleyball and hopefully spark an interest.
Several of her players are home-schooled, so this league has served as an outlet, Evans said.
Her daughter Carson, 14, plays for the team. It is her first time playing organized volleyball, but she says she already loves the sport.
Carson Evans plans to play for the volleyball team at Rolesville High, where her father is the varsity football coach.
I love it, she said of the rec volleyball league. I wish there was a tournament.
Thats something Austin would like to see happen in future years as the league grows.
This season, organizers have tweaked rules as the season progressed to fit the skill level of players and make the games fairer and more fluid, Austin said.
Its a work in progress, but its something were very happy to have, he said.
Games are played on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday evenings at Flaherty Park. The league will run through July 29.