CEDARVILLE — Sitting on the bench watching her Cedarville volleyball teammates play last year, Gabrielle Tobias had an epiphany of sorts.
While recovering from a torn ACL and meniscus in her right knee during basketball as a sophomore, Tobias decided she was not about to let that keep her off the volleyball court for her senior year.
“I just thought of how I was going to come back (this) year and play the best that I could,” the CHS senior said.
And despite another torn meniscus last December and not being cleared for full activity until July, Tobias is definitely at the top of her game. The libero leads the Ohio Heritage Conference with 348 digs, is third in per-game average at 5.6 and is second with 572 passing points.
Her return and solid play is a big reason why Cedarville, 9-8 overall, is just a half game behind first-place Greeneview in the South Division with a 7-5 record.
“Gabby is a stellar libero for us in the back row,” Coach Ashley Snider said. “This is her first season back on the court under any capacity and it’s been nothing short of amazing. Coming off of an injury can always be tough but she has tackled this season head on with confidence, perseverance, and a lot of grit. She’s always diving on the floor, picking up tough digs, and hustling all the way to point 25. She leads by example and that’s what gets her teammates to rally with her.”
Tobias needed every bit of rallying to make it through both sets of injuries, which basically kept her away from the net for more than a year.
“I got cleared in July,” she said. “It was really tough. I had some good teammates and close friends that helped through it. And I had a great coach to help me.”
Tobias was allowed to do what she called “light things” but cutting and diving were no-nos, meaning she could only move straight ahead.
That’s exactly how Tobias handled her recovery and preparation for this season — head on.
”I definitely pushed myself probably harder than I should because I knew I had to get back for my final year,” she said. “Coach would always tell me to slow down or stop pushing myself so hard, but I couldn’t. I just thought about how I missed out on the last year.”
COVID-19 almost took away her senior year, but Cedarville was able practice, get in a few scrimmages and open its season on Aug. 24 against Bradford, with Tobias for the first time in a year.
“I was really excited, but nervous because it’s been a long time since I played, not knowing if I would know what to do,” Tobias said. “I think I did fine.”
The Indians lost in five sets, but Tobias definitely knew what to do, notching 34 passing points and 13 digs. From there, her game steadily improved to where she is in position to be a first-team All-OHC honoree, which was a goal Tobias made while going through her recovery.
Th recovery also led Tobias to a long-term goal. She plans to attend The Ohio State University and major in exercise science and become a physical therapist. That’s something she hadn’t considered before getting hurt.
“It came about after my injury,” Tobias said. “I realized I really enjoyed learning about it.”
She realized many things while injured.
Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.