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New Hudson volleyball coach gets her hands dirty

HUDSON — First-year Hudson volleyball coach Shayna Munson is hands on in the truest sense of the term.

During the first day of her second week on the job, Munson, 28, was correcting miniscule flaws.

She cautioned players not to drop their elbows as they hit through the ball. She instructed them to swing their arms behind their body before jumping for a kill to optimize their power.

Then, the 6-foot-2 Munson demonstrated the technique, striking the ball with a smack that reverberated throughout the gym and landed precisely in the back corner of the opponent's side of the court.

She repeated the movement. Same result.

The Hudson players glance at each other, knowing smiles breaking out across their faces.

After anxiously waiting all summer for someone to fill the vacancy created when longtime mentor Linda McQuade resigned in May, the Cobras finally have a coach.

And a pretty good player, too, should a pickup game break out after practice.

Munson's tutorial comes from years of experience.

A Michigan native, Munson started four years for powerhouse Bedford High in Temperance — a few miles from the Ohio-Michigan border — and won a state championship with the Kicking Mules. She played two years at Eastern Michigan, where she led her college team in blocks her first year.

Her indoor career over, Munson moved to Fort Lauderdale hoping to transition to a career on the beach circuit.

The early results were less than encouraging. "My first year, I was so bad that I stopped playing," Munson said. "But then I finally decided: 'All right, I have to play. I can't not play.' "

Munson has competed for three years on the beach, bouncing between the Corona Wide Open, Dig the Beach and American Volleyball Professionals tours. According to the AVP Web site, Munson has played in 17 AVP tournaments (18 counting this weekend's Muskegon Open in Michigan). Together with partner Dana Fiume, Munson won her first AVP event in June on the Young Guns tour in Point Pleasant, N.J.

"We're rookies," Munson said. "They say it takes seven years before you're a good beach player, to make the transition. I'm only in my third year."

Munson's resume includes 11 years of coaching experience, from club teams in Michigan and South Florida to a stint as the junior varsity coach at Ann Arbor (Mich.) Pioneer High. She also spent two years as an assistant at Eastern Michigan.

In May, Munson moved to Clearwater to further her beach volleyball training. When she heard about the opening at Hudson from Pasco-Hernando Community College coach and fellow AVP Tour member Kim Whitney, she applied. Soon after, she was selected for the position.

Munson inherits a senior-laden team that lost just one starter. After advancing to the region semifinals a year ago, the Cobras are a preseason favorite in Class 4A, District 7.

Munson isn't shy about implementing her own philosophy on the experienced squad.

"She's all about the discipline," senior Katy McGee said. "We need that a lot, for someone to be hard on us, to work us until we can't breathe anymore."

The early returns have been encouraging. "I think we can go pretty far," McGee said. "We have a lot of potential talent, and she's making us all 10 times better."

New Hudson volleyball coach gets her hands dirty 08/21/09 [Last modified: Friday, August 21, 2009 9:38pm]
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