Falcon Volleyball Crushes 2022 Season


Photo by Maya Tesar

Prairie VS Kelso first game of the season. Sep. 8th, 2022, featuring Emme Cecil, Rachel Frazier, Ella Conklin, Diamond Doutrive, and Ku’ulei DeBest.

After placing 7th in state in 2018, Prairie volleyball made another run at state after a great season from the entire program. 

Prairie’s volleyball program has four teams: Varsity, Junior Varsity, Junior Varsity 2, and C-Team. Varsity was league champions with an 8-0 conference record and a 15-6 overall record. Junior Varsity also had a winning season with a 9-3 conference record and a 12-8 overall record. 

Varsity started their season off strong with an intense win against Kelso High School on September 8th. Captain Ella Conklin considers it to be her favorite game of the season. They used the “good energy” from the student section to secure the 3-1 win against their “unwritten rival.”

Summer workouts and  “three-and-a-half-hour practices every day” were just some of the ways Varsity overcame challenges. Coach Jen Palmer believes this was a special year “because we had a group of kids that had the talent, but also the work ethic and the drive.”

Keeping players accountable and maintaining mutual respect is important to Coach Jen. She maintains a “firm but fair” coaching mentality. “The closer I get to them the more they can see it’s more than just volleyball.” Ella Conklin agrees, “She gives a lot of tough love, but we all know it’s coming from a good place.”

These results are a direct reflection of the team’s bond on and off the court. Coach Jen Palmer has coached many teams, including two to state. She shares, “it’s been a long time if any time that I’ve had a team that was as cohesive and had as much chemistry and fun.”

The seniors this year consisted of Captain Ella Conklin, Captain Rachel Frazier,  Captain Emma Eterno, and Ku’ulei DeBest. Emma Eterno will miss her fellow seniors because “all these memories we made along the way are really unforgettable.” Going to state was one of those memories to Ella, “it wasn’t the experience I really wanted, but it was still a great experience. 

Coach Jen values the senior’s great “leadership” and skill sets and says they will be greatly missed, but “I also think we have other pieces that were instrumental in our success this year, that will still be here next year.”

One senior specifically brought the eyes to Prairie, Captain and four-year varsity player Ella Conklin. Ella received many awards and recognitions like First team all-league and all-region, second team all state, GSHL 3A player of the year, Columbian Athlete of the week, and State Athlete of the week. When asked how it felt to hold these titles she says “I’ve worked so hard these past 4 years, and it’s just cool to see it paying off.”

Coach Jen heads all four teams in the program, which might be difficult but with “over-communication” and “self-sufficient coaches” It’s possible.

Junior Varsity had a very successful season coached by Brandon Hannula. JV participated in a tournament held by Camas High School on October 1st. “Our tournament went amazing, we placed second. I think that was the best the team has ever played, I think it’s the best I’ve ever played as well.” player Telina Zander states. Telina has played with the Prairies volleyball program for three years now and believes that this season was “the best season I’ve been a part of. 

Hopefully, next year will have an amazing outcome just like this one. The Prairie volleyball program has lots of young potential, with great coaches to support and traditions to uphold. Prairie volleyball plays with “HRT” [heart], is dedicated and “all in” and it really showed this Fall 2022 season.