With family next to her, and teammates spread throughout the parking lot in front of the school at a socially distance appropriate levels, U-Prep’s Madi Friebel signed her National Letter of Intent on Tuesday to play volleyball at Butler University.
Vinnie the Bulldog – a friend’s pet – even made an appearance decked out in a Bulldogs’ bandana.
The 5-10 setter finished her Panther career with 2,785 assists, nearly nine per set at she was a two-time All Northern Section first team choice. She also was a two-time All Shasta County Sports first team selection.
“This next chapter is going to be something real special,” she said. “I’ve been waiting and working toward this and to have my name printed out on that paper is really telling myself I achieved what I wanted to achieve.”
Friebel said she’ll double-major at the Indianapolis school – focusing on Business and Health and Nutrition.
“I’m not sure I’m prepared (for Indiana). It’s freezing and I don’t like the cold,” she joked. “It’ll be a nice change of scenery.”
She’s among a small handful of North State volleyball players to head to a Division I program, joining Shasta’s Sophie Wood (UC Irvine), CV’s Bri Mackie (Long Beach State) and Red Bluff’s Jaklyn Wheeler (Oregon).
A two-sport athlete through her junior season, Friebel chose not to play basketball her senior season and instead focus on volleyball.
“I’m satisfied with decision,” she said, adding, “now I need to keep working to show I belong.”
How Friebel landed at Butler is interesting because the Bulldogs’ coach actually never saw her play in person. The Panthers played a tournament in Chico this season and one opponent was Oak Ridge of El Dorado Hills.
“The Butler coach reached out to their coach to see if he had any setters, or knew of any, and he said ‘Yeah, you need to check out this U-Prep girl.’
“They saw my film and like me, but it was a lot of word of mouth.”
Friebel said a lot of the motivation to excel in sports came from her father, Chris, a counselor at Shasta. The elder Friebel played on the 1989 Central Valley boys basketball state championship team.
“He’s been motivating and inspiring me,” she said. “He showed that hard work leads to your goals.”
And Tuesday’s goal was to celebrate her achievement, sign her letter and enjoy her teammates – even if it meant doing it at a distance.
“It was so nice to have them show up. I understood the circumstance and thought I’d be signing it in my bedroom,” Friebel said. “I’m so fortunate to put in the effort and showed they’re support.”
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