For the eighth straight July Manny Johnson, a high school, college, club and USA volleyball coach, traveled from California to Lyons to help get the Toombs County Net Dawgs ready for the 2016 season. Johnson, a former head coach at Nappa Valley High School (California) returned to high school coaching last season at Albany High School in Albany, California. 2015 TCHS Volleyball Archive
“I’m really impressed with the kids who have done the camp for three or four years,” Johnson said during a break in the all day camp. “They have shown that they have learned what is going on and they are leading by example. They are really doing a good job of pointing things out that the other kids need to do and they are helping them get better.”
The Toombs County volleyball program has been to GHSA State Tournament four straight years and Johnson is proud of the team’s accomplishments. “I do take a certain sense of pride in how they do. This is my eighth year and my second set of seniors that have come through. It is really fun to see them grow and the camaraderie. It is definitely a family feel for me.”
Katelyn Grimm is a senior Net Dawg and a veteran of coach Manny’s week long camps. “He has taught us the basics like how to pass, how to set and how to hit and right now we are doing blocking moves to get ready for our defensive set ups.” Senior Tanesha Rice said Johnson helped build up her confidence in her game. “He has taught me how to have confidence in myself and to not be shy and just go for it.”
Senior Gracie Braddy says the Net Dawgs have become a fine passing team over the years.” I think passing is our greatest strength.” Braddy is one of several in contention to be the setter, the player who takes the pass and sets up the hitters for a potential kill at the net. “I have set all three years that I have played. So, I am pretty sure I can handle it. It is a pressure job as is any other position on the team. You have to worry about what the hitters want.”
This season the Net Dawgs are dropping from Class 3A to 2A. They will be in Area 2 with 11 other teams- Butler, Dublin, Glenn Hills, Harlem, Johnson-Augusta, Josey, Laney, Putnam County, St Vincent’s, Technical Career Magnet and Westside-Augusta. This is the largest area in any classification and makes up 1/3 of Class 2A.