Not many freshmen get to see the amount of playing time that Maddy Sebahar saw in her freshman year two years ago.
It was hard for Sebahar to adjust to a team with seven seniors, but Columbus North coach Caitlin Greiner said she handled it pretty well. As a junior libero, Sebahar has grown from a first-year varsity player just getting her feet wet to North’s co-captain and a school-record holder.
Sebahar looked up to former North standout Mackenzie Rooks in her first two seasons. Rooks set North’s single-match school-record of 36 digs as a senior last year, and Sebahar made it her mission to set the bar even higher coming into this season. She had no clue it would happen in just the second match of the season.
The Bull Dogs found themselves in a tightly-contested match against Shelbyville, and it took Sebahar’s record-breaking 41 digs to help North walk away with the five-set victory on the way to a three-match winning streak. She was just eight digs short of her total from her entire freshman season.
“It was a surprise,” Sebahar said. “It helped me that we went to five sets, which we don’t normally do, but it was a good game. They were just putting the ball where I was, and it was fun.”
Sebahar, who has been playing volleyball since the sixth grade, initially came to North expecting to focus more on basketball. It wasn’t until she realized how much she loved the volleyball team after her first year when she decided to give all of her focus to volleyball. Sebahar gave up basketball her sophomore year and said it was a great decision for her because she now plans on pursing volleyball in college.
This is Sebahar’s first season at the libero position, and it’s her job to lead the back row. A lot of pressure was put on her when she first received the role, but she said playing varsity at such a young age has taught her how handle pressure.
“Knowing that I’m in that special role has made me such a better player because it’s made me hold myself accountable a lot more,” Sebahar said. “I’m so excited I’m doing it my junior year. (Greiner) even let me do it a couple games my sophomore year because she wanted to give me a taste of it, and I love it. Junior year is definitely helping me know what works with my teammates and what efforts I need to do to push them. Senior year, I’m going to be all out, and it’s just going to help me because this is like my growing period.”
Sebahar started transitioning as one of the team leaders during the offseason by making her presence known at every conditioning practice and open gym. Greiner said Sebahar fought hard to be the player she is today and has made a smooth transition into her new role. The other players respond well to Sebahar and co-captain Agustina Fainguersch in the locker room and during practice.
“They definitely look to her, especially with us having a lot of younger girls in our program,” Greiner said. “Right now, she leads by example and sets the tone, as well as Agustina. If they’re working as hard as they are, it lifts the girls up. If the team is having a sluggish practice, they’ll be the first to say ‘Come on girls, let’s step it up.'”
Sebahar plays in all six rotations, and is not satisfied with the 41 single-match digs she already has. Her goal is to make it to as close to 50 digs in one match as she can to ensure that her record will stand long after she’s gone.
Right now, her focus is on helping North beat Columbus East for the first time 15 years when they visit the Olympians at 7 p.m. Thursday.
“I have full confidence in our team that we’re going to win,” Sebahar said.
Name: Maddy Sebahar
School: Columbus North
Key Stats: Single-match school-record of 41 digs.