Two seasons ago, in perhaps the important high school year for a prospective college athlete, Argyle’s Sawyer Camillo could not catch a break.
Camillo, a 6-1 middle blocker, was a four-year starter for the volleyball team but had trouble getting on the floor as a junior after suffering a high ankle sprain early in the season and a concussion later that forced her to miss much of the season.
Even after all of that, she still became the first player in Argyle volleyball history to earn a scholarship to a Division I program, as she recently signed to play volleyball at Louisiana-Lafayette.
The Ragin’ Cajuns finished 14-18 last season and 6-10 in Sun Belt Conference play, and Camillo said Lafayette’s proximity to home and the possibility of playing games at North Texas impacted her decision of choosing the Ragin’ Cajuns over other Division I offers such as Bryant University and Oakland University.
“I originally wanted to go far away, but then I took visits far away and I decided I didn’t,” Camillo said. “The fact I get to come home every year and have people that have watched me grow up and supported me watch me, and play in my backyard, it’s definitely a big deal to me.”
As successful a program as Argyle head coach Clark Oberle has overseen, he said Camillo is the first player to earn the opportunity to play Division I volleyball. He said her signing was satisfying to see, especially given the injury trouble she had as a junior.
“She really wasn’t worried about it, but I know she really wanted to play at the next level,” Oberle said. “But that made it difficult missing her whole junior year. I’m really happy for her because she worked hard for a lot of years to get to that point. It’s really rewarding to see her overcome that and still get to go play.”
Camillo was one of the more decorated players in Argyle’s history, dating back to her freshman year when she was named the district newcomer of the year. She was also named the district’s top defensive player as a sophomore and junior and was named to the all-state team as a sophomore. She earned first-team all-district honors as a senior.
“She sees the floor really well,” Oberle said. “She has great vision. A lot of the times [middle blockers] just rip the ball as hard as they can all the time, but she can tip it or shoot it anywhere she wants. It’s not all about the power. It’s placement. She does a great job of that. She’s just a really smart player.”
Camillo said as soon as she set foot on the school’s campus in Lafayette, La., she knew she wanted to make it her home for the next four years.
“When I got there, I knew,” she said. “That’s exactly what happened. I fell in love with the coach. She was exactly what I was looking for. The school and team and everything else were just perfect.”
Camillo added that her opportunity will make her a better player in the long run.
“This is what I’ve always wanted to do, and the fact I’m crossing this off my list and getting to go some place that I know I’ll enjoy thoroughly is really exciting,” she said. “I’m just excited to see what comes of it and playing all those super good girls. Once you get out of Argyle and little towns, there’s so many talented girls out there and it makes you want to play so much better.”
But Camillo’s Division I experience will help more than just herself, as Oberle said it will be a good example to set for his program and the younger girls coming up.
“It just gets us a little more exposure,” Oberle said. “We’ve had quite a few girls go to play junior college and Division II, but the fact that we’re at a 3A school producing Division I athletes is pretty cool to think about.”
ADAM BOEDEKER can be reached at 940-566-6872. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org .