The Camas High School volleyball team has won three matches in a row after a thrilling five-set victory against Prairie Sept. 15.
“We know what we’re capable of,” said junior middle blocker Colleen McAvoy. “We know how loud we can yell. We know how hard we can swing. Every time we play, we have a standard. And we’re going to reach that standard, if not, go beyond it.”
The Papermakers learned from tough losses to Ridgefield and Columbia River in their first two matches of the season. Since then, they outlasted Prairie in five and defeated W.F. West and Mountain View in three.
“Those matches showed us that anything is really possible,” said junior outside hitter Keelie LeBlanc. “We’ve taken tough teams to five, and they have taken other tough teams to five. We don’t really know who is going to win.
“It takes a lot of consistency, which is something we have been working on because we’ve been lacking a little bit of consistency,” she added. “Once we have that, and then the passion and drive, I think we can go as far as possible.”
Camas begins league play tonight, at Skyview High School. The first varsity set is scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m.
After playing at Union Tuesday, the Papermakers host defending league and district champion Battle Ground Thursday, Oct. 6. Both matches begin at 7 p.m.
“It keeps us on our toes,” McAvoy said. “We can’t take a game or a practice off. We always have to keep working hard because there’s always someone who wants to be better.”
Down 2-1 against Prairie, Camas showed a lot of heart and determination. The Falcons had all of the momentum after winning the third set 25-11, before the Papermakers rallied for a 25-13 victory in set four to tie it up. Camas then won the race to 15 points in the decisive fifth set, 15-8.
It was a big victory for Camas after losing to Columbia River in five games two days before. Head coach Michelle Allen said the biggest difference was sisterhood.
“I always tell my girls we’re a family first,” she said. “For us to be successful is bringing the energy and supporting each other. That’s the number-one thing. Everything else will flow.
“That was our main focus coming into Prairie and fighting hard,” Allen added. “Especially after the loss of game three, getting such a low number, and then coming back to win the fourth and fifth games.”
Several Papermakers contributed to the victory. McAvoy racked up 13 kills and LeBlanc had 11 kills and four assists. Aubrey Stanton earned 19 assists and Maddy Gilchrist delivered 15. Whitney Quist collected nine kills, Hallie Sessions had nine digs and Madison Pfaff finished with seven digs and three kills.
“We’re really a family more than a team,” McAvoy said. “They’re sisters, not my teammates. I trust them with everything. That carries on to the court.”
Camas swept W.F. West 25-8, 25-16, 25-10 at home Sept. 21. LeBlanc delivered seven kills and three aces; McAvoy added four kills and three blocks; Gilchrist gained 12 assists and three blocks; Pfaff had seven digs, four kills and two aces; and Quist earned four kills and two blocks.
The Papermakers defeated Mountain View 25-11, 25-18, 35-14 at Mountain View High School Sept. 22. McAvoy claimed six kills, two blocks and two aces; Joan Varsek had five kills and a block; Gilchrist delivered 14 assists and Stanton added five; Pfaff finished with three aces, three kills and two digs; Emma Villauz earned four assists and four digs; and Sessions secured two aces and two digs.
LeBlanc said the bond between these Camas volleyball players is getting stronger every day.
“I think that’s why Camas is such a strong program because we’re all so close off the court and on the court,” she said.
LeBlanc hopes the Papermakers can build on this momentum in league. It all starts tonight at Skyview.
“Definitely show a lot of passion and be as loud as possible to really bring the Camas spirit and take it all the way to our goal of state,” LeBlanc said.