Volleyball: Longmont’s Tambre Haddock flourishing with focus on one sport

Paul Dorweiler/Northern Colorado
UNC outside hitter Tambre Haddock hits a back-row attack in the first set of a match against Oklahoma.

Tambre Haddock admits to experiencing more than a few conflicting emotions last spring.

Haddock is strictly a volleyball player now, and one who his enjoying a remarkable start to her sophomore campaign for the red-hot University of Northern Colorado Bears. Yet it was not too long ago when Haddock was a three-sport star for the Longmont Trojans, and so even while she was enduring her first offseason of intense volleyball training late last spring, Haddock still frequently battled against the lure of the basketball court.

“I admit it, I went through a few periods in the spring when I usually played basketball when I wanted to get a ball, go to the gym, and shoot around,” Haddock said. “But focusing on volleyball has been totally worth it. I think it has helped a lot. I know I’ve gotten stronger, and that makes a big difference with how high I can jump now.”

Haddock’s elevated play so far during her sophomore season undoubtedly has helped elevate the Bears overall. Although she made an immediate impact last year as a freshman — Haddock finished fourth on the team in overall kills (225) and third in kills per set (2.42) — she clearly has taken her game up a notch in 2012.

Haddock earned her first Big Sky Conference Player of the Week award last week after helping the Bears put together a 6-0 start. Haddock leads the Bears with 112 kills, reaching basically half of her total from all last season in about the first third of the season, while averaging 3.29 kills per set.

“She really had such a good offseason,” UNC coach Lyndsey Oates said. “She’s stronger. She’s jumping higher. She’s more physical, and we’re seeing all of that in her play this year. She’s hitting the ball so much harder than she did as a freshman.

“We love recruiting multi-sport athletes. They tend to be exceptional workers and usually have a better body awareness when it comes to training. We love that she was a three-sport athlete, but now she’s getting that detailed training you only get when you’re training for one sport.”

Due to Haddock’s relatively slow start in the sport of volleyball, it is little wonder she continues to blossom at UNC. A dynamic all-around athlete, Haddock helped lead Longmont to a pair of appearances in the Class 4A basketball state championship game. She decided to go out for track her senior year and finished second at the state meet in the triple jump.

Although Haddock did not begin playing volleyball in earnest until high school, she nonetheless flourished for the Trojans, eventually winning consecutive Player of the Year awards from the Longmont Times-Call. With that sort of pedigree in her background, it is easy to assume she has only scratched the surface of her volleyball potential with the Bears.

“We’ve worked really hard all spring and summer, and for me personally this is the first time I’ve done the sport year-round,” Haddock said. “We got really close. There is a lot of fight on this team, and it’s so much fun to play with girls like that. I know it’s the sort of team that will stay hungry and not get comfortable.”

Follow Pat Rooney on Twitter: @prooney07