Tyra Schaub long had a dream of being a college volleyball player.
And after breaking through as a varsity player at Skyview as a freshman, Schaub appeared to be well on her way to realizing that dream.
Then midway through her sophomore year of high school, the pandemic hit, and everything changed just when the recruiting process was supposed to be heating up.
“The recruiting process was impacted a lot, especially the opportunities in Washington and Oregon to play and show what you could do, compared to other states,” Schaub said. “We were behind on high school, and travelling. It was a lot. It was stressful, just as it was for many.
“But I think the pandemic taught me one thing and that is to keep an open mind. Try to be positive about things because there’s always if one door closes, another door opens. And that was probably the best thing for me.”
Schaub returned to playing for Skyview last spring and back to traveling to tournaments with her club team. And last summer, Schaub committed to play college volleyball at Gonzaga.
“I was fortunate enough to be noticed by them at a tournament,” Schaub said. “And ever since then, the rest is history and I’m very happy to have found a home. … I’m Washington born and bred, so I’m excited to stay in this state and compete in the (West Coast Conference).”
Schaub said she connected well with the Gonzaga coaches and the family-like culture they instill in their program.
“They love to see their athletes succeed,” Schaub said. “I connected with them on a really personal level, and I thought that was really important when I was trying to decide on a college. As soon as I found out they had what I wanted to major in, I knew that was my home, so I chose it.”
Schaub hopes to study kinesiology or possibly business at Gonzaga.
The family-like atmosphere is what Schaub said she has enjoyed with her Skyview program.
“We all have a really good bond on and off the court,” Schaub said of the Storm. “We only graduated one senior from last year, so it was really cool getting back together this summer. We hadn’t seen each other in a while. It was nice to see faces again.”
And Schaub is the leader on the floor.
“She is just a force to be reckoned with,” Skyview coach Shelby Swanson said. “She is just someone who hits the ball and you know who is hitting. She’s a great leader on our team. She has that competitive drive that pushes her to think ‘I’m going to do the best I can at all times.’ And she has that varsity experience, coming all the way from her freshman year all the way to senior year. She’s always ‘Go get it. We got to go 100 percent all the time.’ She’s a great example of what we need to do all the time.”
Schaub said the short COVID season last February and March was a welcome experience after so many months of uncertainty. But she’s really excited this fall with a clear goal in mind.
“We knew, going into this season, it was grind time,” Schaub said. “We want to do well this season. Our goal is to be league champion. And then after we win league, we want to win districts, and after that, we want to go to state. We went to state two years ago, and that was the first time in 10 years at our school. And that was really huge for us. So I’m hoping to get that opportunity again.”
Season at a Glance
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Bella Hadaller, sr., Kelso
Emmy Hansen, jr., Camas
Morgan Harter, sr., Ridgefield
Rylie Reeves, sr., Columbia River
Leanna Russell, sr., Woodland
Emily Vossenkuhl, sr., Ridgefield
Brooke Wirkkala, sr., Castle Rock
Sept. 21 — Ridgefield at Columbia River
Sept. 23 — Prairie at Kelso
Sept. 30 — Camas at Skyview
Oct. 12 — Castle Rock at King’s Way Christian
LEAGUES AT A GLANCE
In the 4A GSHL, Camas graduate just two seniors off a team that went 11-1 last season. Skyview also brings the bulk of its roster back.
Kelso looks to be the class of the 3A GSHL, with Prairie and Mountain View looking to challenge.
The 2A GSHL remains the class of the state, with Ridgefield and Columbia River leading the pack.
Wirkkala puts Castle Rock in the frontrunner position in the Trico, but look for La Center and King’s Way Christian to challenge the Rockets.