'); } -->
New Clover High School volleyball coach Nic Allen isn’t southern-bred. Not at all.
Allen hails from northern California, a west coast locale far removed from small townish Clover and its unmistakable southern charm.
“I drove 2,000 miles to coach volleyball at Clover High School,” declared Allen with a boyish grin.
Asked if he had learned to eat grits or had even heard of the Southern breakfast delight, the first-year CHS coach’s reply would come as a surprise to most folks in these parts.
“I happen to like grits,” he said. “Northern California is more country than you might think.”
Comparisons of West Coast and East Coast cultures aside, Allen is happy to be in Clover embracing the CHS volleyball program with new-found energy. High school volleyball is a huge spectator sport in California and Allen has his sights on elevating the program at Clover High.
He is excited about his new challenge and enjoying getting to know the roster players that comprise the Lady Blue Eagle team this season.
Allen was able to evaluate personnel during last week’s three-way scrimmage at York Comprehensive High School, during which the CHS girls competed against Westminster Catawba Christian School and host York.
“Our kids played well considering it was the team’s first scrimmage,” observed Allen. “Competing against York and Rock Hill later in the week gives us an idea of what to expect in the region this season.”
Allen noted that Westminster-Catawba’s commitment to volleyball is year-round.
“They are loaded with club volleyball participants,” he said. “We held our own against them.”
Allen said the Lady Blue Eagles have four club volleyball participants and others eager to contribute to the program.
“Our practices are fast-paced,” he stressed. “I want our girls to develop a knowledge of the sport, where to stand, how to react, where to put the ball in situations.”
Senior mainstays Haley Hendry and Lauren Richardson are making their presence felt in the early stages of the season.
Both like their new coach and what he brings to the program.
“Our practices are more fast-paced and geared toward developing the knowledge to succeed,” she said. “Coach Allen emphasizes bettering the ball, which means finding a better spot.”
Hendry has assumed a leadership role her senior season.
“I want to help our younger players as much as I can,” she added. “We have new players and others moving up from the jayvee team.”
Richardson, who also plays basketball at CHS, is using crutches while recovering from a foot injury.
She, too, is providing senior leadership, especially to the younger players on the team. “The younger players will have to step up after we graduate,” said Richardson. “I want to help them progress.
“A real key to success this season is for the players on the team to pull together and play together.”
Richardson enjoys volleyball as much as basketball.
“If I didn’t, I wouldn’t have played volleyball for six years,” she said.
Allen said high school volleyball in California is popular because it is accessible.
“There are so many clubs and choices,” he said.
Allen is aware of volleyball growing in popularity in the Carolinas.
“We have five seniors, four juniors and five sophomores working hard to improve their game,” he said.
With regular season play approaching, the CHS coach has goals.
“I want the girls to be successful and to take the game seriously,” concluded the coach. “There are college scholarships out there.
“My plans for the Clover High volleyball team are to someday win the state.”