Sophie Biehler loves volleyball. You can hear it in her voice when she talks about how the game brings her joy.
But Biehler is no one-trick pony, and while a sight to see on the court, she's no less impressive beyond it, aiming at an education and profession in the medical field.
"I love school, honestly," Biehler said. "It's very important to me and has been something that's been really important with my recruiting process. I plan on going to a really academically rigorous school because I'm thinking of going the medical school route."
That could change, she said, for her interest in chemistry and microbiology may eventually move her in a slightly different direction. But change isn't something that the Timberwolves senior is afraid of, nor unfamiliar with.
Biehler played libero for a Tualatin team that finished 7-4 during the COVID-shortened spring season of 2021. But without the outside hitting of departed standout — and Biehler's best friend — Kylie Zralka, who graduated last June, the senior captain was asked to move to the outside to best benefit this year's team.
While it was a bit of an adjustment, Biehler welcomed the challenge and ultimately embraced it, helping to lead the Wolves to a 10-12 overall record and state playoff berth.
"I was definitely very confused at first, to say the least, because I hadn't hit in years and had no idea what I was doing," Biehler said with a chuckle. "But I had the help of all my teammates and amazing setters that made my life 10 times easier, and it ended up being a really fun year."
And don't let her humility fool you — she was good at it as well, earning first-team all-Three Rivers League honors and last week earning all-state honorable mention.
Biehler — humbly and predictably — credited her coaches and teammates, but she also pointed to the work she's done over the last couple of years for the bulk of her success. She said she's not only put in the time in the gym, but also spent countless hours watching film in an effort to hone her craft.
"I'm humbled by all the success and everything, and more than anything, it motivates me to continue to work hard," she said. "The last two years, I've done whatever I could to get myself better and to be the best volleyball player I could be, and seeing that work pay off is a reward in itself."
The senior said she has been playing volleyball since the third grade and has fallen in love with the volleyball community. She speaks to the welcoming nature of it and credits the game and everyone involved with the sport for much of who she is today.
"I've had a really great experience and have met so many really amazing people and coaches," Biehler said. "I'm so grateful that I've had the opportunity to play and can't imagine my life without it."
She was reminded of just how much she owed the sport when it was taken from her for much of a year. When COVID-19 struck Oregon in spring 2020, the virus and everything that came with it ended youth athletics for the better part of the remaining year. Biehler said she came to appreciate volleyball even more in its absence, and she has enjoyed it that much more upon its return.
"I remember when I got on to the court for the first time in months, telling my family afterwards that I will never take volleyball for granted again," she said. "I definitely appreciate it and everything it has to offer so much more now."
Biehler is planning to play volleyball in college and is narrowing down her options between a handful of both Division I and Division II schools. She said she's taken her time so as to come to the best decision with both the game and her education in mind.
Meanwhile, she's enjoying the last of her time at Tualatin, even playing recreation league basketball for the first time and following another burgeoning passion off the volleyball court: cooking.
Biehler said she's studied culinary arts for the past four years and does her share of baking at home during the holidays.
"It's been really fun to do in my free time, and I've really learned to love to bake," she said. "I love to bake and cook for my family, and over Christmas, I made a lemon Bundt cake from scratch."
The standout added that while she'll miss Tualatin, she's ready and anxious for the next chapter in her life.
"It's been a great four years, and I wouldn't change a thing," Biehler said. "But I'm excited for my new journey going to school and playing volleyball in college. I'm excited for change."
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