Tonawanda News — Kelsey Kobza is a thinker.
She’s fascinated with how the mind works and how people react to stress. So much so that she wants to be a psychiatrist some day to try and “help people work through their issues with everything and stay positive.”
Her mind is probably what makes her a successful setter for Cardinal O’Hara. It’s what allowed her to deal with the pressures and sacrifices of competitive dancing since the age of 3. And when her father died of cancer her freshman year, her mind allowed her to turn sadness into motivation.
“It was kind of difficult for me when my father passed away,” Kobza said about her toughest off-the-court challenge. “He got cancer and it spread really fast. I definitely wish he could be here to cheer me on and see me play.”
O’Hara coach Brad Lorich has watched Kobza grow from a young player with tons of potential into the unquestioned leader of his Hawks team. He said he thinks losing her father has given her strength she may never have known she had.
“It’s kind of how she’s able to hold everything together,” Lorich said. “She’s seen the worst and when she sees things going bad in a stupid little game — the little stuff doesn’t affect her. I think that volleyball has given her an outlet and given her a chance where she can shine and fit in with a group.”
Kobza wasn’t always destined to be a volleyball star. In fact, up until the start of her junior year she was a dedicated competitive dancer. She was required to practice three days a week and had tournaments on weekends.
Dance was so grueling that Kobza wasn’t allowed to miss practice or even tell her dance coach that she played another sport.