By Chad Robert Snyder

Pilot staff writer

For the Brookings-Harbor High School volleyball program, the first Bruin Volleyball League served two purposes.

One, it was a fundraiser for the five BHHS volleyball players planning to travel to Australia this summer. Two, according to Head Coach Lori Cooper, andquot;(The league) allows the kids to experience another sport they will have the opportunity to compete in when they get to the seventh grade.andquot;

As Cooper said, the league is a andquot;feederandquot; program - its stated objective being to prepare players for middle school competition - which enables volleyball to contend with other sports that already have simular leagues.

In its first year, the league had 45 participants, a great turnout according to Cooper. She hopes the success of the league will translate into more middle and high school athletes choosing to play volleyball.

andquot;It think it was good for the kids,andquot; she said. andquot; And I think by doing this every year, more kids will come to the summer camp and play volleyball.andquot;

The league practiced once a week for most of November and December. Competition culminated in a round-robin tournament on Dec. 20.

andquot;They seemed to love it,andquot; she said. andquot;A lot of the kids showed improvement over the five weeks and showed confidence when they got volleys going.andquot;

Before the end of the inaugural season, Cooper and the five BHHS volleyballers destined for Australia - Danielle Ambrose, Shawna Cooper, Briana Gutierrez, Felecia Gutierrez and Nicole Watterson - selected four league players for special awards.

Kaylee Gorman was named Best All-Around Player, Drew Farmer was given the Hustle Award, Emily Johnson, the Always Ready Award and Chelsey Scott was selected for the Powerhouse honor.

Cooper said she was thrilled with the response of the players and is hopeful the league will continue to be successful year after year.

andquot;(The league) definitely met our expectations,andquot; she said. andquot;I was really pleased with the excitement level and how much the kids really enjoyed it.andquot;