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High school volleyball rivals team up for national tourneys
by Greg Oshust
June 18, 2013 03:56 PM | 2278 views | 0 0 comments | 69 69 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Staff / Nathan Self<br>
From left, Westminster’s Mason Rooney and Lovett’s Harley Sebastian team up for the A5 Volleyball squad.
Staff / Nathan Self
From left, Westminster’s Mason Rooney and Lovett’s Harley Sebastian team up for the A5 Volleyball squad.
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Lovett’s Harley Sebastian and Westminster’s Mason Rooney spent the 2012 high school volleyball season on the opposite side of the net — including the Class AA state championship match.

Now, Sebastian and Rooney are back in their more familiar role of teammates as members of the A5 Volleyball club.

They are gearing up for a busy summer with the A5 team, which will play in the AAU national tournament in Orlando, Fla., Saturday through Tuesday and the USA Volleyball Junior Nationals in Dallas, Texas, July 2 through 5.

The two rising juniors, who are good friends and have been A5 teammates for the last three years, are happy to be back on the same team again after being heated rivals during the high school season in the fall.

“It’s fun to play each other during the school season,” Rooney said. “But, it’s good to be on the same team during club season, because we’re such good friends off the court and it helps on the court.”

Adds Sebastian, “It’s weird seeing each other on different sides of the net. When we get back together during club season, it feels a lot better, because we’re such good friends.”

Sebastian and Rooney faced each other three times in prep competition last fall.

The state championship was on the line in their third meeting as Lovett beat Westminster in the AA finals between the two Buckhead archrivals.

While the loss was difficult for Rooney, she said her friendship with Sebastian stayed as strong as ever.

“It was tough for a couple of days, because I was upset about having gone that far and ending in a tough way,” Rooney said. “It was hard to handle, but it didn’t really change anything between the two of us.”

Despite the intensity of the championship match, Sebastian said she never got overly competitive with Rooney.

“I guess there was a lot of pressure,” Sebastian said. “But, when we saw each other across the net, we were smiling and laughing. We don’t really have a rivalry with each other.”

Both Rooney and Sebastian were was first-team Class AA All-State and All-Area 4AA selections and were named to the Prep Volleyball Sophomore 79 first team – ranking both among the top 79 sophomore players in the nation.

Rooney and Sebastian will be on the same side, however, as their A5 team tries to bring home championship trophies from the AAU and USA Volleyball national tournaments.

“We’ve grown a lot this season — from the beginning of the year to the end of the year,” Sebastian said. “We’re a completely different team.”

The two rising juniors have already secured a place on the college volleyball level — with Sebastian committing to Virginia and Rooney to Davidson.

Sebastian committed to Virginia in late April after an on-campus visit. She also checked out Georgia Tech, North Carolina and Pepperdine.

“When I visited, I knew that this is the school,” said Sebastian of Virginia. “I visited other schools, but I knew this is where I wanted to be — because of the coaches and the girls [on the team] and the campus.”

Rooney chose Davidson in November, with Georgia, LSU and Clemson also vying for her services.

“I guess I knew when I got to Davidson to visit, that that was the school that I wanted to go to and it had the size I wanted,” she said of the North Carolina college. “It was in the location I wanted, it was a Division I school and it was smaller. I knew it was close enough that I could drive home. It had all the things I wanted in a school.”
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