Brunswick, Ga. – The second preseason camp for the College of Coastal Georgia women's volleyball team under head coach Leah Mihm will be very different than the first.
That's especially true for the head coach who was expecting her third child in a matter of weeks when the Mariners began preseason practices last August.
On top of that, the first-year Coastal Georgia coach was preparing to send her other two small children to new schools while the family also was building a new home in the area.
It was a bit hectic to say the least.
"It's always busy," Mihm said of preseason camp. "You're basically in the gym all day for two weeks straight. I was a little tired and a little sore last year, but I was pretty active throughout my pregnancy so it wasn't as bad as you might think. It was more difficult coming back after my daughter was born. I was up during the night, coming to early-morning practices. That was more difficult."
The Mariners are set to report to campus Saturday morning. They will hold their first preseason practice Monday at Howard Coffin Gym. The team opens its season on Aug. 25 at the prestigious Bill Marshall Invitational in Grand Island, Neb.
This season will be the first for the team in the Sun Conference after leaving the Southern States Athletic Conference following last season's third straight league tournament title which earned the Mariners a third consecutive berth in the NAIA national championship tournament.
Coastal Georgia enters camp with a 14-player roster that includes eight returning players from last year's team and six newcomers. Junior middle blocker Kyra White is among the returning players. She was one of the Mariners' top attackers and blockers each of the last two years while being named first-team all-conference in the SSAC as both a freshman and sophomore.
During camp, the Mariners will have strength and agility workouts while holding two practice sessions most days.
"We're young," Mihm said. "We don't have any seniors and we have three players returning who started at some point last year. The biggest thing for us right now is getting the team to mesh and work well together."
The Mariners will be looking for a new starting setter to replace All-American and four-year starter Cayley Meiners who has graduated. Other positions need to be shored up as well as the Coastal Georgia coaches look for the right personnel combinations.
"We obviously need to train our setters in our offensive system. Serve receive is always important, and that will be a major focus for us as well," Mihm said.
The Mariners will hold an Alumni Game at 4 p.m. next Saturday. They will go to St. Simons Island for a three-day team retreat the following day and will volunteer in physical education classes at a local elementary school before returning to campus to resume preseason drills.
The team will hold its Blue-Gray Scrimmage at 7 p.m. on Aug. 22. The Mariners leave for Nebraska the following day.