AllSportsTucson.com is running a series of brief stories about Southern Arizona high school senior student-athletes entering this school year. The series, first-person accounts from the student-athletes, continues with a profile on Ironwood Ridge 6-foot-4 senior middle blocker and rightside hitter Rumur Rouille.
School: Ironwood Ridge
College commitment: Long Island University
Honors/background: Sports360AZ 2019 All-Academic Girls Volleyball Team (4A-5A) with 4.17 weighted GPA.
When I started volleyball at age 9, I did the sport solely for fun. I blended in with everyone, playing with my friends and just being kids. Then I rapidly started getting taller, and volleyball became more exciting. Going into 8th grade I finally hit 6’0″ and the game of volleyball just became my passion.
Freshman year changed everything. Arizona coach Dave Rubio was my club coach, and I had really great coaches following that at Ironwood Ridge. Coach Rubio is the reason I am the player I am today. I learned everything from him. His voice is still in my head before I serve or while I’m going up to block.
I always ask myself if I was ready or surprised now. I learned that being aggressive and loud is good. I learned about having a mental agenda and prioritizing what is right for me. I tell myself “stay in base” or “get to the line” all the time. I never knew that I had the ability to play at the next level until Coach Rubio showed me that I had it within myself; I just had to work for it.
So that’s what I did. I am constantly inspired by him. From fourth grade YMCA volleyball when I played in my slippery pink Converse to now in my Mizuno court shoes, my game has drastically changed.
Shoutout to Coach Bill Lang for introducing me into my first of many volleyball shoes! I was a club swimmer; tried basketball, dancing, and soccer before trying volleyball. When I started playing, I knew this was it. I devoted all of my time to it.
At the YMCA, I vividly remember a drill run by one of my first coaches, Kevin Marts, called Kevin’s House of Pain, where we elementary school kids were drilled by volleyballs. I loved it so much. The point of the drill wasn’t to have a perfect pass, but to test your ability to go for it, to see beyond the impossibilities.
The pandemic has especially challenged athletes, testing our strength and drive. The seniors of 2021 have been seeing beyond the impossible, and fighting against the misfortunes.
My greatest hope for this season is that we get to finish it out. I want to experience a senior night with girls I have known throughout my entire volleyball career, including the powerful and inspiring seven other seniors that I have played with these past four years. We truly have poured our hearts into this team, and I am so excited to have a season with them.
I hope we see it through the end and that it isn’t cut short. I truly believe that this team can power through anything thrown at us. Whether it be at practice or on a Zoom call, we are told to embrace each moment with each other because nothing is promised anymore.
Here at Ironwood Ridge, we have the grit. We have the gratitude. And we have the optimism. We are stronger and better together, and will work hard to see the end. I am so grateful for Coach Lang and Coach Ashleigh Houlton at Ironwood Ridge. Coach Lang has given us the mentality we need to get back into the game and be ready for competition. I can always count on him for guidance in volleyball and everything is so organized. Coach Ashleigh has been putting in workouts to a strength app called TeamBuildr since June that are volleyball specific. Knowing that these coaches truly have our best interests and want us to be healthy and ready to play is so unbelievably comforting. It made me want to get up at 5:45 a.m. before school to lift. It made me want to be better.
I love the chemistry between this team. We understand each other and are able to talk to each other that individually benefits one another’s performance. The relationship among us all is very strong, and I think that is what sets us apart. I love this team’s mentality, and I constantly push myself to be better and work harder for them.
My future goals beyond school are to major in business and minor in marketing. My longtime goal is to become a business entrepreneur. I have a full scholarship to play Division 1 volleyball at Long Island University in Brooklyn, N.Y. Excitement does not nearly describe how I feel about this new journey I will soon endeavor.
My time here in Arizona has brought me to be who I am today, not just as a player, but as an independent individual. Humans grow and learn off of each other, and the people in my life have helped me get here. I am thrilled to start my new journey in New York and be with my new Shark family. I am excited to go on my official visit in the future when time permits and meet Coach Ken Ko and Coach Andy Mueller, as well as my future teammates. Fins up!