Five years ago, Lakeview’s Jensen Silbaugh wanted little to do with volleyball. The seventh grader all but had to be dragged to attend her first practice.

That never happened again.

“The first day, I fell in love with [volleyball] after doing all the drills,” said Silbaugh, who in her senior season was selected the All-American Conference Red Tier’s Player of the Year. “At that time, my sports were basketball and softball. I didn’t know if I’d like adding another sport.”

Silbaugh enjoyed volleyball so much that eventually she dropped softball, mostly because the travel team schedule creates a huge conflict. “It’s a lot of commitment — honestly, sometimes I think it’s way too much commitment.” And, she still plays basketball. But, her preferred sport is the one with digs and kills. She loves the “competitiveness, knowing all the hard work that goes into one point.

“Then we get to do it for another 24 more points. It’s the thrill of having a long successful game.”

The highlight of her season: beating Red Tier rival Canfield twice, especially the rematch.

“The first two matches we lost,” she said. “Then the next three we won. They are always good, we just had to come out and play our best.”

Silbaugh mentioned how supportive parents have to be to be able to attend weekend-crushing travel tournaments.

“They are always by my side,” she said of John and Jeanine Silbaugh. “I wouldn’t be here without them today. [Parents] have to give up most of your weekends from January through March. You have to find a baby-sitter, find a dog-sitter.”

Next fall, Silbaugh has a scholarship to play for California University of Pennsylvania, a Division II program. She plans to major in accounting.

“California fit me best,” said Silbaugh, who received interest for “a lot of” Division III schools and a couple of Division IIs.

“I wanted to go D-II,” she said. “I think D-I was too much for me.”

Tom Williams