By Andrea Camarena

Libby Hellwig first stepped onto a volleyball court in the third grade.

Her early career faded as she found herself somewhat inadequate at the sport. Luckily for the Exeter Monarchs, she decided to make a come back.

As a first year, varsity senior, Libby acts as the team's lone setter, a responsibility her team respects.

Libby is making the most of her only year on the varsity squad and proving herself a team-shaping asset to the Monarchs.

"If Libby has a good night, the team has a good night," said head coach Alana Montgomery.

Montgomery and the rest of the squad recognize Libby's aggressiveness on the court.

"The other girls try and do their best in passing otherwise they know that Libbie will run all over the court for the ball," Montgomery said.

The aggressive play led to an injury as Libby stepped incorrectly during play and sprained her ankle in a competition against Lindsay.

She sat out one game. When the team faced Woodlake on Tuesday, Oct. 12, Libby was back on the court. By Thursday, she graced the court with a wrapped ankle for the entire game.

"She's back but not 100 percent," said Montgomery after Libby's performance against the Corcoran Panthers. "She's hurting but we're glad she's trying. She's playing her hardest and doing her best."

Her quick return to the court showcases the most important trait that Libby brings to the Monarchs: Commitment.

Commitment is something the 17-year old has no shortage of. She not only spends hours in the fall and summer devoted to improving her volleyball skills, she practices the same work ethic in the basketball season. Libby will participate in her third year on the Monarchs varsity basketball team this winter.

"She's the kind of player any coach would want," said Montgomery.

But Libby's commitment doesn't stop at athletics. She is currently the Secretary for this year's Fellowship of Christian Athletes, a club she helped to revive last year. She is also a four-year participant in EUHS leadership. Plus, she's an active member of the Church of God of Exeter's youth group High Voltage.

Just to add to her busy schedule this fall, Libby was nominated Exeter's Homecoming Queen after a week of competitions and activities. In the same vein, she competed in this year's Miss Exeter competition following in the footsteps of her two older sisters.

When she does manage to find free time between volleyball practice, basketball games, coronation dinners, and class meetings, Libby and the Hellwig family prefer to indulge in a more extreme athletic experience: dirt biking.

In the winter, the Hellwigs travel to the Mojave Desert to ride motorcycles. Led by her dad's passion for dirt biking, Libby claims to have been up on a quad by age 6. Now she powers a 200XR dirt bike.

But back to volleyball. The Monarchs have three more weeks of league play during which they hope Libby's ankle continues to recover appropriately.

This season will mark the only opportunity for Libby to see post season varsity play.

"She's doing a really good job and I only see her getting better as she gains confidence and the whole team improves," coach Montgomery said. "I don't think she's reached her peak yet."

Libby and her healing ankle will face their next big challenge on Oct. 21 when the Monarchs face their closest competitors -- Immanuel.

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