A Southern Idaho high school volleyball team is on the verge of becoming a dynasty

After winning two high school state championships in volleyball, the Camas County Mushers aren’t feeling any outside pressure to make it a three-peat.

Photo © Jason Lugo

Stephanie Moore, Junior, Outside Hitter

In fact, the only pressure in the tiny school’s Fairfield gymnasium comes from within.

“It would be easy for us to coast, but we don’t want to just get by,” said senior outside hitter Katelyn Peterson. “We want to keep pushing ourselves and keep improving. We’ve been working so hard. We would be so disappointed if we didn’t give it everything all season and then came up short at state.”

In 2010, Camas won its second straight championship with a very young roster full of underclassmen.

“I did think we had what it took, but we knew we really had to work for it,” said sophomore libero Carlie Strom.

With all those players returning, the Mushers are the favorites to win it all again. But head coach Shelli Schroeder said the pressure was higher last season as the youngsters worked to prove themselves. Instead of the anxiety felt in 2010, this season is more about excitement.

“I know everyone is like, ‘A three-peat is going to be easy,’ but anything can happen,” Strom said. “We just have to not get too cocky and play our game and not let anything get in our heads.”

Photo © Jason Lugo

Jamie Wise, Senior, Opposite

The team’s undeniable star is Peterson, who is committed to play college volleyball at the University of Idaho. The three-sport athlete may also compete in track for the Vandals. Peterson won state championships in the high jump, long jump and triple jump last spring.

While Peterson has innate athletic ability, her success hasn’t been simply handed to her. She’s also incredibly dedicated and works her tail off.

“She is as good as she is because when she comes into the practice gym every single day she pushes herself to try to get better,” Schroeder said. “And still sometimes she worries that she’s not working hard enough. Katelyn’s personality is intense, but humble.”

Photo © Jason Lugo

Carlie Strom, Sophomore, Libero

Two more seniors on the team are Jamie Wise and Geovanna Gonzalez, both opposite hitters. Wise is solid on the right side and Gonzalez is a first-year player who brings a lot of hustle.

Camas’ three juniors are Sierra Sabin, Stephanie Moore and Brittnie Hulme. Sabin was libero last year, but has now moved to the net as an opposite hitter. Moore is a solid outside hitter and is skilled on the front and back row defensively. Hulme is expected to be a dominating force in the middle.

Then there are the sophomores: Larissa Stewart, Taylor Gorringe and Carlie Strom. Stewart returns at setter with soft hands and a remarkable ability to distribute the ball to her teammates. Gorringe will fill in the middle and opposite spots. Strom is the libero with her tenacious defense on the back row.

Photo © Jason Lugo

2011 Lady Mushers

And new to the team this year are a pair of freshmen, Kylie Walker and Adrian McGuire. Both play the middle and have great potential to carry the future of the Camas volleyball tradition.

Photo © Jason Lugo

Coach Shelli Schroeder celebrates with the lady Mushers on their 2010 state championship win.

A big reason for the Mushers’ success is the team’s tight bond.

“It’s how close we are. We’ve known each other forever and so we’re all best friends and we’re practically sisters,” Strom said.

Peterson added: “I love the whole environment. Everybody loves to play and we are all reaching for the same goal and we’re all really good friends, so it’s like a family atmosphere.”

As for Schroeder, sometimes the girls make her scream, but most the time they make her laugh.

“Coaching these girls has been so much fun because I have seen them grow from freshmen into juniors. I’ve seen a lot of growth and I’ve seen a lot of potential be met,” she said. “But I also see a lot of potential that is yet to be met.”

If that potential is met by the time the state tournament rolls around Oct. 28-29 at Lewiston High School, another state trophy will find its home in Fairfield.

To see photos of the 2010 state championship games visit our Facebook page.