Former Lions hope to rejuvenate excitement for volleyball through camps

By Chris Yow

Three members of the 2012 Columbia Central volleyball team — the last Lady Lion squad to earn a state tournament berth —came together Tuesday to pass on a little of their knowledge and passion to young players at a camp held at GameTime Sports.

Lexie Duncan hosted the camp, along with former teammates Hanna Slatton Johnson and Fanise Cannon. Around 30 campers attended the evening session, with cheers and encouragement filling the air as players from beginner levels to the more experienced worked on the game’s fundamental skills.

“Seeing these girls out here working hard and being excited about learning is really cool,” Duncan said. “We are so excited to be able to teach them about the game, let them touch the ball and get a feel for it during their summer.”

Duncan, listed among Tennessee’s top five for single-season and career service aces, taught beginners the art of the underhand serve. For her, just having a chance to make an impact on young players is a key element of the camp.

“We want to instill the same passion for the game we had,” she said. “It’s definitely dwindled down the last few years.”

Johnson added, “The love I have for volleyball, I want to see that in more girls in Columbia. I just want to bring back some of that camaraderie.”

Mindful of the COVID-19 pandemic, camp organizers worked to keep as much social distance as possible through small groups and other precautions.

“In volleyball, of course there is some close contact, but for the most part you can kind of stay in your own bubble,” Duncan said. “We want to be careful, so we have a disinfectant station and are taking measures to keep everyone safe.”

Duncan said this is the first of her summer camp series, and will continue in July and August with some play dates on Tuesday nights, as well as private lessons.

“Getting in the gym and working with these kids is a blast,” Johnson said. “We are having a really good time with them.”

Chris Yow is the multimedia director for Southern Middle Tennessee Sports. He can be reached by email at or on Twitter at @ChrisYow14.

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