There was a beehive of activity going on the commons area at Lee's Summit North High School Tuesday night.
A youth basketball camp was just wrapping up in the main gym while youngsters were waiting outside to take part in the Lee's Summit North Summer Volleyball League that has been sponsored by North since the school opened 20 years ago.
As the final grade school basketball players exited the gym, North coach and league sponsor Rhea Moses and her players began putting up the volleyball nets, placing chairs along the sidelines and getting things ready for the 10 varsity and 12 junior varsity squads that participate in the league.
“This is my 13th year with the league and I know Debbie Katzfey (a former North coach who is now the activities director at Lee's Summit West) was associated with it 20 years ago,” Moses said. “This is our fourth week, so we're on the downhill side, but year in and year out, it's a place for teams to participate and have some fun.”
Smiles abounded in the gym as teams from Blue Springs South, Raytown, Lee's Summit and Holden prepared for their matches.
“This league is part of the 25 hands-on days of the summer,” said Moses, referring to the 25 days high school coaches are allowed to coach kids in their respective sports. “I require that my varsity players make it to at least 80 percent of our summer events, and most attend all of them.
“Any more, high school sports is basically year around. But you have to give kids time to be kids, to take vacations, to hang out with their friends. And with volleyball, you don't want to interfere with their club teams – so there is a lot of planning involved.”
North senior defensive specialist Kelli Heineck, took this summer off from club volleyball because she got a job and simply didn't have time for both.
“So this league is really important to me,” said Heineck, who was setting up gear in the main gym. “I think this league is really important because it gives you the chance to bond with your teammates and play with them, too.
“So many girls play club ball, and might not play the same position they play in high school. This gives us the chance to become a team before the high school season starts this fall.”
THANKS DAD: There were two MacLeans in the gym representing Blue Springs South, head coach Dave MacLean and his father Jerry, a former Jaguar volleyball coach.
While Dave was working with his team, Dad was chasing his son's two young children around the gym.
“I got here a little bit late because I had a diaper debacle, and forgot the diaper bag,” Dave said after his team took the court for warmups. “It's great to have my dad here. He gives me another set of eyes for the team, he can watch the kids and I just enjoy talking with him.”
The South squad certainly has a new look as Division I graduates Mia Swanegan and Alexa Armendariz are now playing at TCU and Missouri, respectively.
“We no longer have the give it to Mia right, give it to Mia left offense,” MacLean joked. “With this group we have tonight, we have three seniors and six sophomores and the team does have a new look. But it's an exciting time for the girls because they now have the chance to step up and get the job done now that Mia and Alexa have graduated.”