DeKALB – The DeKalb girls volleyball team began their summer camp Monday. Barbs coach Jamie DiMaggio is understandably excited for this camp, given that she didn’t really have a chance to have one before her rookie season.
“Last year, we didn’t actually have a camp,” DiMaggio said. “I was hired late in the season last year. [The players] had already been running camp for a week last season. When I came in, there were four days of camp left and I hadn’t even put a staff together yet. One thing I am really excited about this year is that our incoming freshmen can see how I run things and be better acquainted with our program.”
DiMaggio’s Barbs have an exciting returning core of seniors led by NIU commit Jasmine Kemp and IUPUI commit Hannah Oehlberg. Both Kemp and Oehlberg had positive things to say not only about the tone of DiMaggio’s first camp, but plans for themselves as individuals.
“I really want to work on my blocking technique,” Kemp said. “We are maintaining a high amount of energy. We are having fun, but we are also setting the tone for DeKalb volleyball.”
Oehlberg echoed Kemp’s feelings.
“The vibe in camp this year is very competitive and tough,” Oehlberg said. “Knowing what we are capable of now, with the training and encouragement from Coach DiMaggio, helps us want to strive to do even better this season. As for me personally, I would like to get better at blocking and being more aggressive while serving.”
While Kemp, Ohelberg, Emma Fellabaum and Jessa Henry are known commodities to Barbs fans, DiMaggio also is very excited about setter Bella Finch, a senior who transferred from Oregon High School.
“She’s an athletic setter,” DiMaggio said. “I would say that she is a trainee right now, but I am very excited to see what she continues to do as she trains under me.”
Looking even further into the future, DiMaggio said she is pleased with the incoming freshman class, as well as her other underclassmen. She believes that the strength of her underclassmen, combined with the programs that she is putting together, will allow the Barbs to be a perennial powerhouse program.
“I’m going to expect big things every season,” DiMaggio said. “We’ve had younger players make strides in the offseason. Kayli Hilliard is a sophomore 6-footer who had never played volleyball before her freshman year, who played her first club season last year. She’s still trying to find her limbs, but she came into camp and bounced some balls really well. Lydia Sabanish trained for a full year at the open level as a libero in her club last year. I feel like we will be able to replace what we have lost with Abby [Boyden] graduating. I don’t want to say too much right now, because we did lose a lot of key pieces from last year, but I think we will have a strong showing based on what I’m seeing so far.”