The new Mustang volley boss plans to begin by introducing the sport to youth

by: JOHN DENNY - Amanda Wiedeman“Milwaukie has had success in [girls] basketball, going to state the last two years,” said Milwaukie first-year head volleyball coach Amanda Wiedeman. “So if we can get athletes interested in and excited about volleyball, I don’t see any reason why it can’t happen in volleyball as well.”

Wiedeman says she believes the key to building a successful program begins with building interest in elementary school and middle school, and to that end she plans a three-day youth camp for third through eighth graders in early August, and a monthly program for sixth through eighth graders on the first Saturday of the month from the end of the high school season through the end of the school year.

And Wiedeman invites any high-school-aged girl, incoming freshman through senior, to attend open gyms, which are underway, and will continue from 5 to 7 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays through July.

“I think kids should have the opportunity to be involved in volleyball, even if they can’t afford the club sport,” Wiedeman said.

Wiedeman, 30, says she has been involved with and has had a passion for volleyball since first being introduced to the sport as a third grader in Enterprise, Oregon.

She was a three-sport athlete at Class 2A Enterprise High School, making first-team all-league two years as a setter in volleyball, playing point guard in basketball for a team that lost only five games in four years, and qualifying for state in the javelin two years in track and field.

She went on to earn NWAACC All-Conference honors as a setter at Lane Community College, before finishing her career at Portland State University, where she earned a degree in communications.

While attending Lane, she coached Churchill’s freshman volleyball team and coached in the Webfoot club program.

She coached St. Mary’s freshmen volleyball team two years and coached in the Blues club program. This past season she was the PDX 18’s head coach.

“All of my coaching experience is in volleyball,” Wiedeman said. “That’s where my passion lies.”

Wiedeman has named Jasmine Varela and Lacee Dewald as her assistant coaches. Varela has 13 years of experience coaching volleyball, in schools and in club. She’s coached with Wiedeman the last three years, at St. Mary’s and with the PDX 18’s. Dewald played volleyball with Wiedeman at Lane, and also coached at St. Mary’s and at PDX.

“We’re excited!” said Wiedeman. “We’ve been looking for a place that has a need and where we could come in and build our own program.... “We want to come in and get kids excited, to build the enthusiasm in middleschoolers where they want to tryout....

“Longterm, we would like to see a winning program. To turn this program around and create a name for volleyball in the Milwaukie community.”

“I’m excited to be here coaching with Amanda,” said Varela. “Her enthusiasm, her heart and her passion for the kids and for volleyball make her the great coach that she is.”

Wiedeman said her open gyms are open to any high school girl, even those with no experience. And she said she welcomes both boys and girls to her August youth camp.

The youth camp, for girls entering grades 3-8, is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., August 5-8. The registration fee is $60 and registration forms can be found online at Click on the sports icon, summer sports programs, and youth volleyball summer camp information.

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