More than a month ago, PCM’s Shelby Voeller was likely headed to Des Moines Area Community College. She was planning to walk on to the Bears’ volleyball team.
But after Southwestern Community College head volleyball coach Shaela Camp reached out to the Mustang senior, Voeller’s path to collegiate volleyball was altered.
“SWCC was totally a God thing,” Voeller said. “About (five) weeks ago, Coach Camp reached out to me after seeing my film online. She said she was very interested in having me play for them, and it all fell together so fast. I had a visit within four days, on June 16, and I knew after that visit I would be making SWCC my home.”
Voeller made it official a few weeks ago with a signing ceremony at PCM High School. She plans to be a Spartan in the fall with the hopes of helping SWCC to its first winning season since 2013.
Voeller said she looked at numerous schools before SWCC came into the mix. She made several visits, including one out of state to Crown College in Minnesota. DMACC wasn’t too far from home and it was affordable.
The same can now be said about SWCC, which is located about two hours away in Creston. SWCC and DMACC are in the same conference and the two programs are scheduled to play each other on Sept. 23 in Boone.
“I chose SWCC for many reasons. The main one being the coaching staff. They instantly showed me that they not only cared about my success on the court but off as well,” Voeller said. “Coach Camp has been great — I am committing pretty last minute, so having a coach who knows what needs to get done and is on top of things has been so beneficial.”
Camp was the co-head coach for the Spartans last year and starts her first year as head coach this fall. Her assistant coach is Tracey Evans. Evans also influenced Voeller’s decision.
“Coach Evans is a prominent member in the community and has been at the school for 30 years,” Voeller said. “Talking to her made me feel very good about the choice to come to SWCC. Moving to a new town can be scary, so it’s nice to have someone who knows their way around. I love the campus and love the small town feel.”
The other reasons Voeller chose SWCC came down to community support, proximity to home and affordability.
“Athletes go out and support each other and being in a small town, I’m excited to have the community behind us,” Voeller said. “Coach said we have great home game turnouts so I’m excited to fill the stands. They have great facilities as well.
“I’m eager to be close to home as I have a younger brother and still want to be present for a lot of his high school moments. SWCC has offered me a chance to play the sport I love while attending school without having to be worried about my financial situation, too.”
SWCC volleyball was 5-33 last year and 14-21 the season before.
The Spartans last winning record came in 2013 when they finished 37-10.
Camp’s first look at Voeller came by way of video. It didn’t take long for the SWCC coach to see something she liked.
“I saw a video of Shelby on NCSA and the first set she did she was sprinting to a ball and went down to her knees to set it and it was a fantastic set to the outside hitter,” Camp said. “I knew right when I saw that hustle and dedication that I wanted Shelby to be on my team. When Shelby came for a visit she was outgoing, outspoken, knew what she wanted and I knew she would be a great fit for the team. I need a setter who can be a leader on and off the court.”
Voeller was a two-year starter at setter for the Mustangs.
In 2019, Voeller led the team in assists with 152 and also finished with 56 digs, 25 kills, 10 aces and eight blocks. She was 61-of-79 in serves.
In 2018, Voeller recorded a team-high 217 assists, eight blocks and 30 aces. She also added 37 kills, 42 digs and was 140-of-167 in serves.
In a secondary role as a sophomore, Voeller chipped in 25 assists and was 18-of-21 in serves.
Voeller said she was recruited to play setter at SWCC but is prepared to play wherever the coaching staff needs her to play. Camp confirmed her desire to use Voeller as a setter at the next level.
“I am prepared to come in ready to work and be a leader in whatever position I am put in,” Voeller said. “In my time talking with Coach Camp, she has expressed how she really wants someone who can take charge and lead the team. I want to do my best to be that player for her.”
Voeller plans to play two years at SWCC and then move on to a four-year school. She said Coach Camp has already begun the placement process with her.
“Shelby is a taller setter, which is great for any program,” Camp said. “If she works hard, like I know she will, and keeps improving, I think she could be an NCAA Division I player in the future.”
Voeller had never set a volleyball until her sophomore season at PCM. Mustang coach Alex Samson saw potential in Voeller back then and the Mustang senior is grateful. She also decided so late to play for SWCC because she wasn’t quite sure if she wanted to devote the her time into playing or coaching.
“I am thrilled to be playing volleyball in college,” Voeller said. “I knew either way that volleyball would continue to be a big part of my life. I’m thankful for my parents. They have driven me to numerous volleyball camps, club games and extra practices since the fourth grade. I’ve also had some great club and school coaches who have motivated me.”
Voeller plans to take part in the science transfer program at SWCC.
Her tentative career path involves something in the medical field.