Lakeview’s Silbaugh California (Pa.) bound

Special to Tribune Chronicle Jensen Silbaugh signs her letter of intent to play volleyball at California University of Pennsylvania.

Lakeview volleyball standout Jensen Silbaugh will take her competitive spirit to California Univerisity of Pennsylvania next fall. Silbaugh signed her letter of intent Friday afternoon after choosing Cal U over Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP).

“I had a choice between both schools, but Cal took me in and I just loved it,” Silbaugh said. “I loved the program and the coaches. They made me feel like it was the right place to be.”

Silbaugh, who will major in accounting, had a phenomenal career with the Bulldogs, as she recorded approximately 800 kills as an outside hitter on the volleyball team, including about 250 as a senior.

What makes Silbaugh such a special player is her competitiveness and intensity.

“The will to win like any athlete,” Silbaugh said of where the determination comes from. “No one likes to lose. I think what has helped my game is that when I started in seventh grade, I was a setter. Once I became a hitter as a freshman, I knew where the ball needed to be.”

Silbaugh helped lead Lakeview to a Division II district semifinal this past season. The Bulldogs overcame a bit of adversity coming into the season, as they welcomed a new coach in Heather Guthrie.

According to Silbaugh, that didn’t deter a determined Bulldog group, who took a liking to the new coach.

“My senior year was probably the best team I ever played on. It was our hardest year, competition-wise, and we all picked each other up when things went wrong,” Silbaugh said.

“It was a little bit of a transition (to Guthrie) at first, but she took us in, and we took her in. Starting with that first day, we took to her and everything just instantly clicked.”

Guthrie believes that Silbaugh, who was the team’s most “outspoken player” and one of the best defenders on the team, finishing second in digs, will flourish at the next level.

And of course, she expects Silbaugh’s competitive spirit to shine through, once again.

“She’s ready (for college). She’s willing to go to war anytime of the day,” Guthrie said of Silbaugh. “If I was still playing, she’d definitely be on my team.”