In his 15 years hosting the All American Volleyball Camp in Soldotna, Bruce King has seen numerous top-level collegiate players serve as coaches. But perhaps none compare to one of this year's coaches -- Sarah Pavan.
"Pavan is probably the most decorated volleyball player that's come to Alaska," King said. "We're pretty excited about that."
Pavan currently splits her time between playing professionally in Europe and for the Canadian National team. In her four years at the University of Nebraska, Pavan was a four-time, American Volleyball Coaches Association First Team All-American -- just the fourth athlete to accomplish that feat -- and led the Cornhuskers to an NCAA title in 2006. In 2008, Pavan, who racked up more than 2,000 kills in college, earned her second consecutive Big 12 Female Athlete of the Year award. She is one to two athletes to have won the award twice.
"She was a dominant player in her college career," King said. "She's just an incredibly impressive passer. She puts the ball down better than any guy in Alaska without a doubt."
Pavan's father, a well-known coach in Canada, is friends with Steve Pickering, who arranges the camp with King. Pavan had a break between seasons and Pickering was able sign her on as one of the coaches, King said.
Two camps will be held next week. From Aug. 3 to 5, a skills camp -- for grades eight and above -- will focus on mechanics, King said. The camp, which runs from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m., will be held at both Soldotna High School and Skyview High School. Players can still sign up. The cost is $140. For more information, contact King at 262-9501.
Aug. 5 to 7 features a camp for varsity teams. Guest coaches, like Pavan, work with teams in the morning followed by competitive games in the afternoon. Being instructed by Pavan-caliber players is beneficial for the teams, King said.
"In any sport, it's always good whenever you get people who have achieved at the highest level to be a role model for these kids," he said. "Having them demo the sport is a real eye-opener for these girls. That's what makes these camps special."
Having top volleyball players is also a treat for the coaches.
"I'm excited to watch someone like Sarah Pavan hit," King said. "It will be real exciting when they get on the floor and start showing off their skills."
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