ST. CLAIRSVILLE - Practice for the St. Clairsville High School volleyball team officially began Friday.
The genesis of the season started to form weeks ago.
Great teams, whether they be at the prep, college or professional level, are rarely made during the season. They're cobbled in the offseason, where a willingness to sacrifice together can yield great results.
Members of the St. Clairsville High School volleyball team recently spent a day at Adventure Creek. The outing was meant to be a break away from the rigors of offseason conditioning and promote team bonding.
Christa Truchan hopes that's the case with her squad.
In her fourth season guiding the Red Devils spikers, Truchan is all about building team unity. So, in addition to the usual on-court work this offseason, she planned some off-court activities, too.
One of those, was a trip to Adventure Creek, located just outside of the city.
''Last year, we started to realize they needed some more team bonding to get ready for the season, so we were looking for some things around the area that were affordable for teams to do and we thought we'd give it a shot,'' Truchan said Friday from California (Pa.) University, where her team was participating in an individual skills camp.
As it turned out, the atmosphere at Adventure Creek was just what Truchan was looking for. So much so, she decided to take 13 girls back this year.
''It's, honestly, a mental break from playing volleyball,'' Truchan said. ''We were really looking forward to getting that closeness.''
And, according to Truchan, that's what the activities at Adventure Creek provided.
''They're cheering each other on and realizing they can do some difficult challenges,'' she said.
Ziplines of varying lengths and a wide variety of obstacles are among those challenges featured at Adventure Creek.
''They're pushing themselves and having fun at the same time,'' Truchan said.
Truchan said the players enjoyed themselves last year, and it showed during the season.
''Last year, the team grew very close - on and off the court,'' she said. ''It wasn't something we had to push. Going out there helped.
This year, it was more of the same.
''They like to have a lot of fun. They reference (the trip) every once in a while. So they, obviously, had fun.''
And, that makes the endeavor worthwhile.
''That is always the main goal in anything we do,'' Truchan noted. ''Whether it's fundraising, ziplining, putting on a camp, we just try to work together, trust each other, and have each other's back.
''These are the kinds of lessons that will stay with you through life.''