NMMI graduates Barbara Guedes (right) and Marysa Ocampo are headed to D1 college volleyball programs.
Russell Huffman | El Defensor Chieftain photos

Future Socorro Lady Warrior volleyball players hit the court on May 26-27 and got next-level coaching from New Mexico Military Institute graduates Marysa Ocampo and Barbara Guedes.

Maddie Lee concentrates on her passing skills during the Socorro volleyball camp.

Ocampo is a notable name in Socorro High School athletics, and the 2021 graduate took her game to NMMI, where she worked her way into the starting lineup and a fast friendship with Guedes, who hails from Brazil. Both women are headed to play more college volleyball, with Ocampo signing with Shorter College to play setter. Guedes is a middle-blocker headed to William Carey University.

Ocampo’s mother, Kathleen, is a “mother” to both women and assisted during the camp as future Socorro volleyball players paid close attention. There are times when she pauses as if in awe of the girl she sent off to NMMI, who returned a knowledgeable and confident adult.

“The pride I feel is indescribable. You know, watching Marysa on the court and knowing about her overcoming obstacles and her becoming the starting setter at NMMI at the end. That gave me a lot of pride, but seeing how responsible she’s become, how mature she has become, and how much growth she’s made is really something,” Kathleen said.

The pride is justifiable, considering Ocampo and Guedes are now on summer break after a very rigorous two years of study at NMMI and could easily have said no when they asked if they would be interested in coaching. At $15 per athlete, it’s certainly not for the money.

Marysa Ocampo preps a camper for setting drills.

“It’s summertime, and these girls need something to do. Second, I mean, this is the community I’ve grown up in. I wasn’t born here but was pretty much raised here my whole life. I was super grateful for all the people that helped me out here to get to the next level,” Ocampo said. “I just want to give back to these kids, I love working with them, and if I can help them as much as my peers helped me, I mean, that’s a win-win for me. I also think that this is giving these kids something to do in the summer, something productive to look up to; I’m getting them active. It’s awesome to do that.”

Both coaches shared a group of students to provide more one-on-one instruction.

“You need to be in a position to set the ball. You can’t be leaning one way or the other. You need to be centered,” Ocampo said.

Once she had given her instructions, Ocampo started dishing out encouragement and praise to the players.

Across the court, Guedes is matching Ocampo’s intensity.

“I love volleyball. I love to see the little kids learning and helping them to get into the sport. I want them to have fun and learn a little bit of volleyball, but I also want them to like to be together with everyone. For them to talk a little bit helps the shyness go away,” Guedes said.