DUBOIS, Pa. (EYT/D9) – Each deep inhale Kyara Girvan took felt like shards of glass in her lungs. She couldn’t catch her wind. She couldn’t breathe.
And, she had no idea why.
It was the first round of the 2019 PIAA Class A volleyball playoffs and Girvan, a senior for Clarion, knew something was very wrong.
(Photo courtesy of Penn State DuBois)
Later the night, Girvan and her family took a trip to the emergency room where doctors determined she had blood clots in her lung — a potentially life-threatening situation.
“They told me, ‘You won’t be playing volleyball again,’” Girvan said. “‘You’re done.’”
Girvan, though, was undeterred. With the clots dissolved, Girvan returned to the gym a week later, ready to help the Bobcats in their pursuit of a state title.
“I took medication (to help with the clotting) and a week later they had cleared up,” Girvan said. “They were like, ‘OK, you can play, but very minimal. You can’t go all out.’”
But, that’s not the way Kyara Girvan plays volleyball. As a libero, Girvan was diving all over the court to help get the Bobcats to the PIAA semifinal, where they lost to eventual state-champion Northern Cambria.
Later, it was determined that the clots were the side effect of another medication Girvan was taking.
The clots have not returned since.
The experience, though, altered Girvan’s plans and led her to Penn State DuBois.
“I had options to go other places, but dealing with those health issues, I kind of decided to stay close to home,” Girvan said. “I love the atmosphere (at Penn State DuBois). The campus is small enough that I get to know everyone. It kind of felt like home.”
Girvan was all set to make her debut last fall, but the season was canceled because of COVID-19.
The wait to play again was excruciating for Girvan.
“The feeling of being on the court is unmatched,” she said. “I was so excited when this season started.”
Girvan, though, found it more difficult than she expected to get back into volleyball shape after the long layoff. Now that she has, she said she’s feeling like her old self again.
Well, maybe not completely like her old self.
Her old self played libero. This year, Girvan has made a radical position shift, trading in digs for kills as an outside hitter.
Girvan has taken well to the new position so far for 5-3 Penn State DuBois. She is third on the team with 59 kills.
She’s still getting defensive when the opportunity strikes — Girvan leads the team with 86 digs. She also leads the team in aces with 22.
On Tuesday, Girvan was named PSUAC Volleyball Player of the Week after recording 25 kills, 37 digs, and eight aces.
Girvan had every intention of being a libero again at Penn State DuBois. She was preparing for another season of diving and bruises and passes and digs.
But, head volleyball coach Dave Alberts saw Girvan strike the ball at the net during an open gym and everything changed.
“OK,” Alberts said to Girvan. “You can really hit.”
“And,” Girvan added. “It stuck.”
Girvan never comes off the court for Penn State DuBois. That gives her a chance to still dive all over the floor and get bruises all over her body.
Just like old times.
“If you think anything has changed with me, it definitely has now,” Girvan said, chuckling. “Being a libero will never come out of my blood. It will always be a part of who I am. I think everyone now knows nothing is ever going to change that.”