In terms of volleyball royalty in Central Oregon, the Sisters Outlaws are the standard that has held throughout the modern era. Since 1996, the Outlaws have six state titles, with five of them coming since 2007. Around the town of Sisters, success seems to just be a way of life inside their program, and senior star Greta Davis is no exception. She paid her dues and waited her turn, emerging as an Oregon West Conference first-team and all-state selection as a sophomore. After COVID impacted her junior campaign, she made the best by helping Sisters to the 4A state championship against Sweet Home, tuning up for what was looking like a redemptive senior season. However, the forces of high school sports turned on Davis in her senior year.
A week into Oregon West play, Davis suffered a fractured fibula that knocked her out for the season, ending her high school career in its tracks. For Davis, her worst nightmare had become reality, “The injury I faced was undoubtedly upsetting,” she said. “I was frustrated with myself, and my nightmare of season-ending injuries had come true.” Growing up, Davis was introduced to volleyball as a third grader, and it sparked a passion. “I realized that I really liked the sport for more than just getting to hang out with my friends,” she said. “Throughout middle school, my passion for volleyball grew. In eighth grade, I made the switch to play for a bigger volleyball club and I chose NPJ in Bend.”
Once the switch was made and she was being coached by Randi Viggiano, Davis never looked back, “My passion for the game grew immensely the longer I kept playing,” she said. “That fueled me to soak up all I could in practice, compete with heart, and work hard outside of volleyball to be sure I was set up for success.” While COVID threw wrenches in her club and high school career, it opened up the opportunity to blow open her potential through a new route: Beach volleyball. “I will accredit all of my indoor success that followed the pandemic to beach volleyball,” Davis said. “It allowed me to fine-tune my first contact control, helped with court awareness, forced me to be stronger, and did wonders for my vertical.”
With the shortened COVID season ahead in 2021, Davis played a major role on a team that was loaded with talented seniors. “I was still one of the younger players on the starting roster for Sisters High; that year we were very senior-heavy,” she recalled. “I was lucky enough to play with one of the best setters in the state, and there were strong players all around me.” While she wasn’t yet the leader that we witnessed in her senior year, she made herself a force through play and silent means, “I tried to be very dependable and consistent, as I feel it’s an outside hitter’s role to fill,” Davis explained. “My form of leadership usually involves being a good teammate and empowering the players around me. I feel that if you’re a good teammate and can back it up with consistent performance, natural leadership will follow.” In the spring campaign, Sisters went to the 4A championship where they fell to Oregon West rival Sweet Home in the title game.
Falling just short in the spring, the fall season was supposed to be a redemption tour for the Outlaws. The team started well and were on pace towards another title appearance, then Davis went down with a fractured fibula, a major blow to the team in such an early state of the year. At first, the injury appeared to be a short-term issue, but it quickly turned into a season-ending one for Davis. “Recovery went a lot slower than I was initially told,” she explained. “I had broken my Fibula and slightly fractured my Tibia. I was told six weeks initially, but that would turn out to be about four months before I would be fully cleared to jump and play in practice.” For Davis, it was the end of her senior campaign, and her role was shifted from star on the floor to being a mentor on the sidelines. “My mindset was to help my teammates to see the court,” she said. “I was able to still contribute my court awareness and game IQ. I was able to be a leader from the bench for the majority of league play.”
Even though she was doing everything she could from the sidelines, for the young woman who led the court, her injury placed her in a vulnerable position, “Honestly, as league play came to a close and post-season play started my mental health and mindset were dwindling,” she admitted. “This is usually the part of the season that I look forward to all year, and by this point sitting on the bench had become just short of unbearable. I often felt depressed, and honestly would have rather been at home crying with my mom.” Her teammates persevered and adjusted, going all the way to the 4A championship where they fell to another Oregon West rival, the Cascade Cougars. Davis wonders what might’ve been if she could’ve been on the floor, “I often wonder if there was more that I could have given to my team, or done something differently to change that outcome,” she reflected. “In retrospect, I do think that I gave as much to my team as I physically could have, but at the time it didn’t feel like enough.”
Fast forward to May 2022, Davis is now fully recovered from her injury and back to playing on the court without pain. She also has another opportunity ahead: Playing for Sacramento State in the fall, “I am very excited to head to Sacramento State in the fall and compete for their indoor and beach volleyball teams. I’m most excited that I get to keep playing my favorite sport,” she said excitedly. “I have met most of my future teammates, and I couldn’t be more excited to be close with them and make memories.”
With Sisters almost in the rearview mirror and Sacramento State on the horizon, Davis shared some words of wisdom in her reflection of the time she had as an Outlaw. “I learned so much from my time as an Outlaw and I learned the biggest lesson of all: we rise by lifting others,” she said. “As I was unhappy with myself during my senior year, I was able to still lift my teammates which helped get the focus off myself. I have learned this lesson time and time again in volleyball, but I think that it rings true in all of real-life as well. I think it’s important to put focus on empowering the people around us and putting our teammates before ourselves.” Overcoming the mental and physical challenges of a season-ending injury and watching from the sidelines, Davis is an inspiration for all female athletes who face challenges in mental health and physical health. In the end if you persevere and make the best of it, you can ultimately still make a difference in your life and the lives of others.