Athlete of the Month: Lucia Firbas ’17

When Co-Captain Lucía Firbas ’17 was in seventh grade, she decided that she wanted to play volleyball, but she could not find any programs in Princeton. So, Firbas began her volleyball career by participating in a small weekly clinic in West Windsor. Firbas chose volleyball for a variety of reasons, but mostly because she has watched her country’s strong volleyball team and wanted to learn how to play.


photo courtesy of Valeria Torres-Olivares

“In Peru, where I am from, there is a strong volleyball culture and it seemed like a fun sport to do,” Firbas said. “I watched volleyball on TV [during] the Olympics once when I was little. I [also] tried to play soccer, and I was really bad at that, so [volleyball] was on the other end of the spectrum.”

Firbas began to love the sport and hoped to continue on a team at PHS. After learning that PHS did not offer the sport, she decided to start it. Firbas and her friend and current Co-Captain, Noa Levy ’17, along with their parents, worked together and created the now championship-winning PHS volleyball team we know today.

“It was really refreshing because there were seniors, juniors, sophomores, freshmen, and we were all at the same spot,” Firbas said. “It was a really cool environment to get to know everybody because we were all nervous, and did not know what to do. That was key to the vibe and feel of the team because we’re so welcoming to everyone and proud of every little achievement.”

Patricia Manhart stepped into the role of head coach and worked hard with the girls to create a successful team. Manhart saw the potential in Firbas from the moment she stepped on to the court.

“That year, it was almost as if everyone was a freshman because almost everyone was new to the sport,” Manhart said. “But Lucía stood out, and she always hustled, shagged balls, and [communicated] positively with her teammates and always put in that extra effort. She has always been like that.”

During practice, Firbas took on a leadership role and pushed her teammates to work hard every day.

“Since we started as such a new team, we didn’t have all the skills there … [it] was important for me to [keep] everybody together and focused,” Firbas said.

Firbas plays right back as part of a line of defense, a crucial position on the court.

“She has always been a great back row hitter, and I always get excited watching Lucia get set. She is an aggressive, active player, and I am always proud of her and all the work she does,” Manhart said.

The team has worked hard and Firbas guided them to many victories this season. One of her proudest moments was when the team beat Rancocas Valley High School in a 2–1 win on October 17. This was a big win for the team, especially because Rancocas had been the top seed.

“They were undefeated and we really wanted to beat them because we lost to them once and [this time] we showed them such an exciting matchup,” Firbas said.

Firbas is very proud of the successful team she has helped create and hopes the incoming freshmen will help continue the team’s positive trend. Firbas is planning on continuing volleyball on an intramural team in college.

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