Volleyball camp

YSU volleyball

YSU volleyball head coach Mark Hardaway addresses the Penguins during a home match last season. Photo by Dustin Livesay/The Jambar.

In July, Youngstown State University’s volleyball team will again host its annual summer camp for high school students interested in playing as a Penguin.

Joe Conroy, YSU’s former head volleyball coach, established the camps to help recruit high school students and to help them transition to playing on the collegiate level. Members of the volleyball team instruct the younger players.

“[The] camps were run to help raise money for the program, travel, uniforms and salary,” Conroy said. “Also, every coach runs a camp. It is a way to show your program to potential recruits.”

Conroy said he likes the direction of the program under current head coach Mark Hardaway.

“The program is doing great. Coach Hardaway is someone that I have known for many years,” he said. “He has the background and the volleyball IQ to get it done. … His assistants are very knowledgeable and well-rounded in the sport.” Unfortunately, in recent years, the team has not encountered as many recruits as hoped for.

“It’s a good recruiting tool for the university as a whole,” Hardaway said. “Athletics are supposed to draw people in.” Like Hardaway, Jasmine Fullove, assistant volleyball coach, said she is determined to bring recruits to YSU. The camps were a big hit years ago, and the program is “trying to get it back to where it was,” she said.

“We would hope they have a good experience here,” Fullove said. “That would definitely help out our recruiting.”

Pennsylvania schools have been the most receptive to YSU in previous years, and Hardaway said he wants to see it expand even further.

“We used to have 36 teams on campus, which brought in an average of 10 kids per set,” Hardaway said. “Maybe 100 of them will play in college.”

Hardaway said part of the coaches’ mission is to show possible recruits that “YSU is a great place to be.”

“It’s a good chance for our kids to meet high school kids,” he said.

Hardaway and the assistant coaches typically run three sessions every July as per high schools’ requests. Hardaway said they like to start camp after club volleyball ends and before the high school season commences.