TC campers getting first class volleyball education

First-year Columbian volleyball coach Bill Bonham has a vision for his program.

The former mentor at Buckeye Central, who led that squad to a state tournament appearance last fall, always wants the best.

At Columbian’s volleyball camp this week, there was an instructor who knows a little something about that.

Alyssa D’Errico has a resume few volleyball players anywhere can match. The former Penn State libero was part of four national championship teams with the Nittany Lions, and has since gone on to play professionally in Europe. She also was a volunteer assistant this past season at Georgetown.

This week, D’Errico could be seen working with high school and middle school girls in the Tiffin program, helping to mold them into what she became.

“I’m really happy that she’s here, she’s helping us out a lot,” said TC volleyball player Tessa Fuhrer.

D’Errico, who has a friendship with Bonham that dates back a few years, said she wants to give back to a sport that she loves.

“One of my favorite coaches in club always preached to us about how it was giving back and paying it forward to the next generation,” D’Errico said. “I for sure wouldn’t be the player that I am without the generation above me that taught me the game the way that they did. I think the way to grow the game and the way to teach kids the right way to play the game is to give back and make sure you’re doing all you can to help the generation below you be better than you were.”

Bonham said it’s been a good year for the camp; about 60 girls, all from Tiffin, took part. The coach said having someone the caliber of D’Errico is a big boost to the camp, and to the program.

“It’s awesome. Where else can you get this?,” Bonham asked rhetorically. “We can go to any university, we can go to any college around, we can have anybody come in, but you’re not gonna get the caliber of this, and you’re definitely not going to get this caliber to come here. We can send kids to a team camp, or an individual skills camp somewhere else, and it’s going to cost so much more money, and they might not get any personal attention, and it might not be catered to what we want. But Alyssa’s really good at doing what she does, and then asking ‘what do you need?'”

D’Errico said she and Bonham have similar teaching philosophies.

“That’s why I keep coming back,” she said. “I came here when I was still at Penn State, with one of my assistant coaches and another player, and we ran a camp when he was over at Buckeye. And right from the start, we realized we both have similar mottos and very similar viewpoints in how the game should be played, and how you should teach, and the way you should instruct girls so they’re growing up to be adults and young adults that are successful in the world.”

Bonham said the three day camp has been a group effort. Makayla Agin, one of Bonham’s former stars at Buckeye Central who went on to play at Xavier, has been an instructor at the camp, as has Tiffin Middle School coach Amy Cooper, TC JV coach Erin Patrizi and freshman coach Megan Simon. Findlay coach Bob Moran also was at the camp Monday.

Bonham said it’s all part of what he hopes to build at Columbian.

“One of the things we were worried about coming back here was, where is the future of this program sitting?” Bonham said. “Are we gonna be able to build it up? Is the interest still there? Well, it is.

“The interest is here, we have to keep promoting it.”