BY GRANT LEDGISTER
Camille Spencer is a player who has always seemed to find success in the sport she is playing.
Whether it was achieving third in the nation as a BMX rider multiple times when she was younger, or now participating in and winning major volleyball tournaments and training with the team’s top junior team, she finds the result she’s looking for.
Of course, volleyball is a team sport, and Spencer’s favorite moments playing are when she’s surrounded by her teammates. In the wins and the losses, her teammates are always there for her when she needs it.
“Having a team of girls around you and having that family that you can always count on to have your back is super important,” she says.
A time when teammates were definitely needed was this previous season. Spencer spent most of time sidelined with a back injury, only playing in the postseason.
Spencer’s teammates and her family were the ones that help guide her through her recovery, both physically and mentally.
The Lady Raptors were runners-up for the state championship in 2017, losing to the Logan Eggleston-led Brentwood.
Many memories were made in that run, and Spencer, a rising senior, is using the experience to fuel her remaining season in high school.
“I was only a sophomore, so I have two more years [going into last fall].” Spencer said. “I just feel I have to train harder and be better for my team next year and the year after that.”
Spencer will be able to help her team in the regular season this upcoming year. She is excited to get back on the court and finish the quest that she began two seasons ago, though she knows it it’s going to be tough.
“It’s going to be a pretty big year; I’m really excited.” Spencer said. “Our team’s ready to get back in the gym and start working to try and get that state championship.”
Spencer has grown in other ways than learning how to rehabilitate from a major injury this year. She switched teams at the club level, from Alliance to Tennessee Performance Volleyball, so she’s had to learn where her skillset is best utilized and how to play with and a new group of teammates.
She feels it was the right time to do it and that the switch gave her a renewed sense of purpose that she would not have had otherwise.
“It was a better fit for me, training-wise,” Spencer said. “It helped me get committed.”
She went out and executed that commitment. Her club took home the AAU National Championship title, the first for a club in Tennessee.
“It was an amazing, unbelievable experience” Spencer said. “I’m very grateful that I got to be with my team. We all stayed in a house together which was really nice, and it was a great way to be able to send the seniors off to college.”
Spencer was also named MVP of her division but was quick to point out that the play of one individual only goes so far in any successful season.
“My team was right there with me the whole time,” Spencer said. “It comes down to being a great teammate and being an accountable person for the team and having trust with your teammates.”
In her attempt to reach the next level of her sport, Spencer trains with the USA Women’s Junior National Team, a collection of the top 44 players in the country in her age group.
Spencer is taking the opportunity with the national team to gain some more experience and make sure she stays as sharp as she can before the next season of high school play.
Though she’s only halfway through her high school career, Spencer is looking ahead to greater things and has already committed to play college volleyball at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh.
She talked to her coach, went up and visited a few times, and just felt it was the right fit for everything she wanted out of a college experience.
The ultimate goal at Duqesne is similar to the one she has in high school: win the conference. It is going to take focus, practice, and learning and advancing the game.
“I need to become a better passer, better hitter, and better teammate, and be more consistent,” Spencer said. “Whatever team I’m on, I want to be the best teammate for them, be the go-to person.”
Photo submitted; Spencer is #15.