By BOB ETTINGER
For the Star Beacon
Batman has a knack for being able to pop out of the shadows at exactly the right time to thwart a would-be evil doer.
Ninjas are known for their stealth and ability to ambush an opponent.
Superman is able to lie low as Clark Kent before stepping out of his phone booth, grandly entering a scene and saving the day.
Geneva senior outside hitter Chelsea Scafuro spends a bit of time every match doing impressions of them all.
The daughter of Marcia and Greg Scafuro is the 2013 Star Beacon Ashtabula County Player of the Year for the second time and a four-time first-team all-county selection. She shared Player of the Year honors with Edgewood’s Katie Thomas in 2012.
“It’s definitely a very big honor,” Scafuro said. “After all the years, now that I’m done with high school, I can finally say I’m proud of myself for not letting up, for giving it all I’ve got while I had the chance.
“I’m lucky to have had (Geneva coach) Annah (Haeseler) as a coach for four years. She’s like a second mom.”
There are games where she’s content to lie in the weeds, simply waiting for the right moment to make her move, like a cat stalking its prey. When the moment presents itself, she emerges with a booming spike. Then follows with another, and more often than not, a third to prove the point.
There are times when the four-year starter will go up behind a teammate and pound the ball to the floor. And the Eagles’ offense in general is one that that is meant to hide who the ball is being set to right up until the ball is sent in that direction with three players making runs at the net.
“Sometimes, I kind of hold behind — not hold back, but keep the disguise then just let loose,” Scafuro said. “It’s an adrenaline rush. I don’t know how to describe it.
“I don’t think it hurts anything to blend in. When we play other teams, we pick out certain players to watch for. I like to keep a disguise, but in the same tone, when it’s game time, unleash — sneak up and surprise them. I don’t think lying in the weeds hurts anything.”
And then there are the moments where the grand entrance is required — the times when she is required to leap tall buildings in single bound, outrun a speeding train and deflect bullets. The two-year captain shines brightest in those times.
“When crunch time rolls, she wants the ball to come to her, no doubt,” Haeseler said.
What may be Scafuro’s best trait is she’s content to let her teammates have the spotlight. She welcomes, relishes even, the moments when fellow seniors Emily Ball and Kirstie Otto or juniors Megan Cool and Sarah Juncker make a tide-turning play.
“Each of them is different,” Scafuro said. “They put on their own masks. I think that’s just the type of player I am.
“I really enjoy seeing everyone else blossom. Every girl has her unique style. Even though I might be off my game, I know the rest of them are still there. Everyone can turn it on for a game. That’s a really good feeling.
“It can’t always be you, you, you. You have to step back. It’s not right (not to step back) in a team sport. One person can’t make the team.”
At least a small part of what drives that attitude in Scafuro is the relationship she developed through the years playing with fellow seniors Ball, Christa Cash, Kylee Corlew, Rikki Metzler, Otto and Allie Penna.
“I played with Christa, Allie, Emily and Kylee since fourth grade,” Scafuro said. “In seventh grade, Rikki and Kirstie came into the picture. We’re not just a team, we’re a family on and off the court. We’re always together. That’s what brings us to the top. That’s what made it possible to come back on Lakeview (to win after losing the first two games in a sectional championship).
“I wouldn’t be where I am without them. I’m proud to be able to say I went to Geneva and got to play with the girls I did. They’re always there for me, on and off the court.”
Even a superhero needs friends.
Ettinger is a freelance writer from Ashtabula. Reach him at email@example.com.