Volleyball officially came to Dawson County last year when the high school fielded its first-ever junior varsity and varsity teams.
As with any sport, the development of athletes at a young age only strengthens the program and varsity coach Tanya Porter knew that was the case for the Lady Tigers.
Shortly into the first season, she approached Superintendent Damon Gibbs with the request to initiate a program at Dawson County Middle School.
The request was approved and this year the facilities at DCMS are being upgraded to accommodate volleyball. Jessi Edwards was hired to coach a middle school girls' team.
"I think it is going to work out," Porter said. "The interest has been great. We had 40 middle schoolers and 36 high schoolers," she said.
Last week both groups spent Tuesday and Wednesday evening working out in front of coaches and teams for the upcoming school year were selected and posted on May 3.
The middle school team will have 22 girls divided up on an ‘A' team and a ‘B' team.
Like last year, the teams will begin practice in July, just after dead week.
"We will start with middle school, but probably not as many practices in July as the high school team," Porter said. "They don't start until two weeks into the school year."
The high school team will face its first opponent the day after school starts on Aug. 4.
"We can start fundraising a little earlier this year than we did last year," Porter said.
Porter and assistant varsity coach Kristi Creegan just returned from a coach's clinic at the University of North Carolina.
"It was crazy. It was awesome," Creegan said about the long days.
"I needed to see that level," Porter said. "When you are trying to come into the sport and you don't know all the nuances of the sport. You can't see it with these high school girls because they don't know it either."
Porter and Creegan agree that the program is developing and to continue that, the coaches and teams will need as much support as they can get.
"We are excited about it," Porter said. "I am thankful they allowed us to do it because it is only going to help our program. It is serving a lot more girls. It is definitely going to pay dividends by the time they get to this level."