The Capital Volleyball Club, one of the area’s longest-standing non-profit youth volleyball clubs, will be hosting tryouts beginning November 18 at the Olympia Armory.

Tryouts for U16 players will be held on November 18 with tryouts for U15 and U18 players occurring on November 19 and November 20, respectively.

The Capital Volleyball Club competes in the Puget Sound Region league, a USAV-sanctioned league that is comprised of the highest-level clubs in the area. The majority of teams will consist of 10 players.

Age is determined by how old a player will be on August 31, 2019. Players are allowed to try out for their age or any older age. No player is allowed to play below their actual age from the selected date.

Practices for every age group will begin in late November/early December with the season running until mid- to late-May. Should a team elect to go to nationals the season can last until early July.

“All of our teams will attend the Pacific Northwest Qualifier in Spokane where they will get a chance to play against teams from California, Hawaii, Texas, and many other states,” said club director Mike Henry. “Our older teams, U15 and up, attend a few college exposure tournaments that are in Las Vegas, Reno, and at the University of Oregon campus and University of Washington campus. Our younger teams finish their season on the Oregon State University campus.”

capital volleyball club director
Mike Henry (far right) is the club’s director, while daughter, Kendra Henry (left) is one of the club’s coaches. Photo credit: Nicki Henry

The list of Capital Volleyball Club coaches includes Heidi DeFord and Chris Linke, who both have more than 10 years coaching experience at various levels, Tracie Lindeblom, who has coached for the club for 15 years and is the current Timberline High School head coach, Kendra Henry, a former standout at Black Hills High School and current Elma High School head coach, Morgan Pilon, who played at Tumwater High School and was a four-year starter and school record holder for career assists at Northwest University, and Gatalina Schuster, who played at Timberline and Lower Columbia College.

“Our coaches are our biggest asset. We are very fortunate to have many quality coaches in our program both present and past,” Henry said. “This is just a small sampling of our coaches. We have many quality coaches throughout our line up and are always looking to add the right people. We also invest in our coaches’ growth. For example this last summer we sent 11 coaches to the Art of Coaching Volleyball coaches’ clinic. It was a two-day event with some of the biggest names in college volleyball, including (Penn State University head coach) Russ Rose, (Stanford University head coach) John Dunning, and more.”

Previous Capital Volleyball Club players have gone on to play at numerous colleges, including Central Washington University, Eastern Washington University, New Mexico University, University of Idaho, and Western Washington University.

capital volleyball club
The club has had players go on to play college volleyball at schools such as Central Washington University, Eastern Washington University and Western Washington University. Photo credit: Nicki Henry

“Club volleyball is very helpful to a high school player. It is not mandatory, but you will see many girls at the varsity level have played club volleyball. In a club season, you can get over 60 matches while in high school you get closer to 20,” Henry said. “The court time and playing girls at the same level help the player prepare for their high school season. Those that want to play in college, for the most part, will play club. There are more opportunities to be seen at the club level.”

“While playing club volleyball is helpful, we also believe that the high school experience is just as important,” Henry said. “We work with many girls that have played other sports while playing volleyball for us. It takes a huge commitment from them, but the majority of time we are able to make it work.”

Originally a part of the now-defunct Olympia Volleyball Club, the Capital Volleyball Club was started 13 years ago by Henry and his staff.

“The girls all got along great and a few of them also played on a competitive fastpitch team. A small group of parents looked into making our own team,” Henry said about the initial formation of the club. “This would allow us to work around their fastpitch schedule, control costs, and manage the club differently than the way most clubs handled business.”

capital volleyball club
Capital Volleyball Club, which enters its 13th year, will hold tryouts for U15, U16 and U18 players in November. Photo credit: Nicki Henry

Following two successful years, Henry was asked by several parents to expand the club and offer a variety of age groups. The club grew to four teams in its third year and have since featured between seven and nine teams each year.

“I think that one of the biggest differences between us and other clubs that has helped us maintain our success is the general principle that we are not driven by money and we are very family oriented,” Henry said. “Volleyball is an expensive sport and we do everything we can to manage our costs.”

That includes a non-paid, all volunteer board and no costs for potential players to tryout.

“We do not charge for tryouts, never have and never will. We do not use this day as a fundraiser for our club,” said Henry, who suggested those trying out for a team to make an optional canned food donation to the Thurston County Food Bank.

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