WOT Profile: Debora Seilhamer

Sept. 7, 2006

When it's time to go to college, most kids stay close to home or perhaps move a short distance away. USC senior women's volleyball player Debora Seilhamer not only left her native Puerto Rico, she went across the entire United States in order to land a spot with the Women of Troy.

Seilhamer, the 5-5 libero from Ponce, Puerto Rico, was fortunate in that one of her former high school teammates, three-time All-American Bibiana Candelas, was already at USC.

'It was a hard decision, but the fact that Bibiana was already here made it easier for me,' said Seilhamer. 'The fact that USC had one of the best volleyball programs and was one of the best schools in the country helped me make that decision.'

Over the years, Seilhamer has worked to become one of the nation's top collegiate liberos. She already holds school records for most digs in a three-game, four-game and five-game match as well as currently holding the best digs-per-game average ever at USC. On Nov. 12, 2004, she recorded 45 digs in the five-game victory over UCLA.

With a school-record 696 digs and 6.82 dpg average last season, Debora earned her first-ever All-America recognition with second team honors from Volleyball Magazine. This season, she is closing in on the school career mark for total digs, held by Katie Haller (1990-93).

It doesn't take much for Debora to get ready for a match in order to add to continue her chase in the record books.

'I like to listen to reggaeton (Spanish) music before the match and I like to eat an energy bar,' said Seilhamer. 'I don't like to have a routine because if I mess it up, I'll be thinking about it. I just want to be concentrating on the game and help my teammates out.'

Debora loves to play for her teammates and help out when needed, especially during a match. Sometimes, it's difficult for her since she is close to her family. Several times when USC travels east, her family members are able to fly out from Puerto Rico to see her play. Despite the difficulty, she knew ultimately that it was best for her future.

'It's hard to leave your family but it's something I knew I had to do,' said Seilhamer. 'I knew I could get a great education here.'

As an athlete at USC, she enjoys the interaction that all the athletes have with each other as well as the professors who understand the schedule demands that a typical student-athlete has throughout the year.

Debora will have the option after this season to play for the national team in Puerto Rico or play professionally in Europe. She also wants to go to law school so she will have multiple options when her USC playing career is over.

Standing at a height of five feet, five inches, Debora understands that she can provide an inspiration to many young girls as well as those of different ethnicities.

'There are some Mexican-American kids that come to our matches and know I'm from Puerto Rico and we talk in Spanish,' said Seilhamer. 'I also have shorter people like me who ask if they can be a good player. I tell them look at me. You just have to work hard to be a good player, set your own goals and try to accomplish them.'

In her final year with the Women of Troy, Debora Seilhamer continues to cement her legacy as one of the top women's volleyball players ever at USC.

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