On some game nights during her sophomore year, now-senior Stesha Selsky was unconscious.
Exertional migraines caused many instances where Selsky couldn’t recall an entire match, even immediately after she played.
“I don’t remember a whole lot from that year,” she said.
Despite having little to no recollection, Selsky set the school’s single-season digs record at 590.
“She was on the court every day, and she was doing her job amazingly,” senior Sarah Draves said. “That’s the first time I’ve ever heard that she couldn’t remember matches. That’s just the kind of player that she is.”
Selsky currently has 1,977 digs and is on pace to become just the 25th NCAA Division I player ever to collect 2,000 career digs. She’d also be just the third Big Ten player ever to reach that mark.
That’s impressive considering this season is the first and only where she has been healthy and the team’s full-time libero.
In 2004, she started at libero just for the final third of the season, following then-captain Sarah Allen’s season-ending injury.
Selsky battled an injury her sophomore year that contributed to her lowest total of games played in a season (75).
Last season, the Manhattan Beach, Calif., native played the entire year as a setter, but she still finished second on the team in digs.
“I think it’s mind-blowing,” Draves said. “That just doesn’t make any sense. It’s just ridiculous. It’s trademark Stesha.”
On any given weekend in Cliff Keen Arena, Selsky is easily recognizable, not just for her naturally red hair, but also for her acrobatic moves on the court.
Selsky said the act of digging doesn’t require much thinking. With a fast reaction time, you “don’t really technically need to be conscious while you’re doing it.”
But even if she doesn’t need to think about digging an attack, she consciously tries to keep her teammates alert and energized during matches.
Last year, after a missed serve by junior Beth Karpiak, Selsky used a more unconventional method to energize her teammate.
“I went up to her and I said, ‘You know what, it doesn’t matter because you look so great in your spandex right now, no one even noticed that you missed your serve,’ ” Selsky said.
The comment had its intended effect. In the words of Selsky, Karpiak “just died” of laughter.
Joking aside, in four years, Selsky has established herself as a once-in-a-career player according to Michigan coach Mark Rosen.
“Stesha is a really unique kid, and I like that about her,” Rosen said. “She kind of thinks a little different than everybody, and she kind of looks at things outside the box. I think in a lot of ways, the libero position has been a really good fit for her to interact in the way she interacts.”