Skyview volleyball set for success

Setters Swanson, Brown lead Storm to win over Camas as league play starts

By Paul Valencia, Columbian High School Sports Reporter



Jocelyn Adams (10) of Skyview High School blocks a spike to score a point in a volleyball game against Camas on Tuesday.

Rachel Shirley (3) of Skyview scores a point on a spike in a volleyball game against Camas.

Shelby Swanson (1) of Skyview High School celebrates a point in Skyview's win over Camas in the opener of Class 4A Greater St. Helens League play. Swanson is part of a two-setter rotation for the Storm.

They settle down their teammates during chaotic times.

They set up their teammates in ideal situations.

All the kills in volleyball just would not happen without someone putting the ball in just the right spot.

The setters in volleyball do not always get the loud cheers for their play. If all goes well, the crowd goes wild at the next stage in the process, after the ball is killed by a teammate.

That is just fine with the setters.

“It’s rewarding in a different way,” Skyview’s Shelby Swanson said Tuesday, moments after she and her Storm teammates opened the Class 4A Greater St. Helens League schedule with a win over defending champion Camas. “Instead of the glory shot, you know you helped your team win the point. You definitely get team appreciation.”

That is all a setter needs.

“You get the respect of your hitters,” added Skyview’s Kelsey Brown. “You get a lot of congratulations from your team.”

Skyview uses two setters in its lineup. In Tuesday’s 3-0 victory over the Papermakers, Swanson finished with 17 assists and Brown had 16.

Camas coach Julie Nidick said the setter is her favorite position in the sport.

“Everyone sees the dig. Everyone sees the kill,” Nidick said. “No one notices the set.”

While the Papermakers lost this night, Nidick expects big things from her squad, and the “quarterback” of the offense. Tina Elliott is in that role for Camas this year, as the Papermakers utilize the more common one-setter strategy.

One or two can work, depending on the team. The key, though, is to have a talent at the position. It is not as easy as it looks.

“You can’t run an offense without a setter,” first-year Skyview coach Kirsten Hoffman said.

Hoffman is fortunate to have two quality ball handlers, and Swanson and Brown said they prefer being on the floor at the same time.

“It’s nice to share,” Swanson said.

“Sometimes it changes the momentum,” Brown added. “We do different stuff.”

Some hitters might shine better with Swanson setting them up. Others might prefer Brown’s touch.

“We like to move the ball around and keep everyone involved,” Brown said.

The setters do pile up the assists on the stat sheet, but they also are quick to point out that many of those assists are from their hitters making them look good.

“We’re going to do our best to give them a good ball every time,” Swanson said. “It doesn’t always happen, though. We appreciate it when they save us.”

It is a team thing. The great dig to save a point gets the “Oooooh” sound from the crowd. The kill gets the “Whooah” or the “boom.” The set is the set. The setters rely on their teammates for the love.

Everyone is happy when it is going well. The Storm hope to keep Skyview fans happy all season, too.

Skyview won five consecutive 4A GSHL titles before Camas moved to 4A last year and took league. Skyview as the early advantage this fall.

“We’re pumped. We’re ready to go. Skyview’s back,” Brown said.

“We’re feeling it this year,” Swanson said. “We have the chemistry. We have the teamwork. We have the talent. It’s all here.”

League play is upon us now in the 4A and 3A GSHLs for volleyball.

League championships are all set up for the taking now.