Whitney Skabelund loves to play in the dirt.
But when the senior Greenwave multi-sport star isn’t jumping into pits and winning state titles, she’s on the floor, attacking and blocking at the net to the sound of a thunderous roar.
Skabelund has been a consistent force for the Lady Wave volleyball team, even more so this year as Fallon is trying to return to the state tournament for the first time in more than a decade.
“Volleyball has been a huge part of my life since before I can really remember,” the 17-year-old Fallon outside and middle hitter said. “It has taught me how to love competition, how to work hard under pressure and how to cooperate with others for the sake of accomplishing a common goal. I love the quick pace and intensity that is unique to this sport. I will definitely strive to keep volleyball a part of my life for as long as possible.”
Skabelund’s no stranger to success and her experience of achieving the ultimate goal could help the Lady Wave. She won state titles in both the long and triple jumps in May and continued competing at a high level in track club this summer.
Deservingly so, she has high expectations of the volleyball team and wants the team to taste that state experience.
“I have extremely high expectations for my team and this season,” said Skabelund, whose post-high school goal is to play Division I volleyball or track. “Greenwave volleyball has been a longtime underdog, but in the last year, I honestly believe we have made vast strides that put us in position of making it to state playoffs and, hopefully, progressing farther in the tournament than we did last season. That’s our ultimate goal.”
This year’s edition of Lady Wave volleyball should have fans excited about a return to the state platform.
Entering Thursday’s match against Lowry, Fallon has won all but one league game (Truckee) and it will host the regional tournament next month. The top two teams from the Northern 3A tournament will advance to state, which will be in the north.
Fallon’s surge in success begins with Skabelund where she leads the team in kills, aces and total blocks. The senior athlete registered 73 kills in 117 attempts (62.4 attack percentage) before the Lowry match, which is the fifth best in the division. Her 60 total blocks (including 36 solo) lead the division and she’s tied for first with senior Kayla Buckmaster with 15 aces. Skabelund is also fifth on the team with 23 digs and backs up senior setter Zoey Swisher with 31 assists.
“Whitney is the best natural athlete I’ve ever come across,” said coach Patty Daum. “When you have a kid who’s gifted and you can put anywhere, it makes it sweet. She’s just a gifted athlete who I can put in any athletic position.”
But when it comes down to achieving the ultimate goal, the individual stats don’t matter. Skabelund has a special feeling with this year’s team and is excited about the outcome.
“I’ve been on four different varsity teams in two different schools and this team this year is 100 percent the team I am most excited to compete with,” said Skabelund, who will also receive her associate ’s degree from Western Nevada College’s Jump Start program when she graduates next spring. “We are loaded with athletic talent, yet there are no big egos. We work hard and we work well together. Words cannot do justice to my level o excitement to see how this season turns out.”