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The St. Helens High School senior has spent all four years on the varsity volleyball team.

COURTESY PHOTO: TANYA LEE - St. Helens High School Senior Karlee Webster showing her skills. As a kid, Karlee Webster dabbled a bit with softball, but she soon developed a love for volleyball.

Webster, who is a senior, currently plays on the volleyball team at St. Helens High School.

Webster, who has always lived in St. Helens, remembered, "I actually started playing because all of my friends that I played softball with wanted to play volleyball. We all gave it a shot."

That was eight years ago, when Webster was 10.

"My love for the sport grew insanely," Webster said. She later started playing club volleyball in Beaverton.

Webster has played on the varsity volleyball team during her entire stay at St. Helens High. She's grateful to have been able to transition from a COVID-impacted season in the spring to a more normal season this fall.

"Last year was definitely a very odd season," she said. "I think we had tryouts for three days, and then two days later, we were given our jerseys.

"It was a very, very odd season and it felt very crammed. We would have, like, three games a week, every week. Definitely not having spectators changed the environment a lot."

Webster added, "This year definitely feels a lot more normal, which I'm very thankful for because it's my senior year. It's so nice having the spectators back, having the students section and everything."

Speaking of her teammates, Webster said Ellie Austin and Ava Eib are great leaders on the court.

"Madison Blackburn has been doing an exceptional job," Webster added. "She has grown so much just in this season alone, which I think is so much fun watching that growth happen."

As to the team as a whole, Webster said, "Our team actually is pretty close this year. It's really rare for an all-girls sports team in high school. Usually, there's drama all the time. This year, there has been absolutely no drama. Practice is fun, the games are fun, bus rides are fun. It's honestly a really good environment this year."

As of Friday, Oct. 15, the team has won six games and lost four. The season is scheduled to wrap up Oct. 25 with a home match against rival Scappoose.

Webster looks to a couple of teams that are huge competitors.

"La Salle and Wilsonville are always our biggest competitors," she said. "It's always fun going up against them. They are really good teams."

Webster added, "We just had a big win against Parkrose. The entire team just gave it their all. That probably was the most rewarding thing, when the team gives it their all and we come out on top."

St. Helens has played La Salle twice and Wilsonville once, losing both those contests.

Webster has high praise for her volleyball coaches, Tom Ray (head coach), Kellee Wood and Miranda Little.

"All four years, I have been super-close to all three of them," Webster said. "They are all so great. I love them all so much."

For Coach Ray, the feeling is mutual.

"Karlee Webster is a joy to have on my team," Ray said. "She is always willing to help all players. Referees always compliment her positive behavior. She is the captain of my team because she is always thinking about what is fair or best for the team."

When it comes to college plans, Webster is undecided at this time.

"I would absolutely love to play in college," she said. "But we'll just have to wait and see on that one."

Webster would like to attend a Northwest school, she said, but "if the offer was right, I would definitely go far away."

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