“She’s a Freshman”

Athlete takes on challenge of being only freshman on girls varsity volleyball team


Photo Submitted By Izzie Rysanek

Izzie Rysanek (9) jumps to hit a ball at the opposing team. “…When you get a big kill or a big point and you just see all of your teammates supporting you, going crazy, screaming [it’s the best]. Even if it wasn’t that good, if they’re a really supporting team, they’ll go crazy for you and it makes me feel really rewarded,” Rysanek said. Rysanek also plays for Rockwood Thunder Volleyball Club.

Many athletes dream of having a spot on varsity in their freshman year of high school, but for Izzie Rysanek (9), that dream came true. 

“I was very confused,” Rysanek said. “When the coach told me, nobody on the team knew. I learned at the same time that the rest of the varsity did.”

Her older sister, Lexi Rysanek (12), is also on varsity, and Izzie was very excited to play on the same team with her. Izzie started her volleyball career in third grade after her sister was playing CYC volleyball. Being the younger sibling, she wanted to do everything that her older sister was doing, which has helped her transition to playing on varsity.

“I’d say that I’m really close with almost every single one of them,” Izzie said. “Especially with my older sister being on the team, it’s definitely helped me come out of my shell more and talk to them.”

Izzie also plays on a club team, Rockwood Thunder 15 Navy. This will be her fourth year on Rockwood Thunder and her second year on Rockwood Thunder Navy. Izzie says that high school volleyball is a little bit different from club from the practices to the relationship with the players. 

“The biggest thing is definitely having practice every day. It only took me a few weeks to get close with the high school girls,” Izzie said, “but for club, it takes almost half of the season, if not the entire season.”

Most athletes know that to be able to get better and stay in shape, you have to do something outside of the gym or field. Izzie found something that she enjoys doing that will keep her in shape outside of the court. 

“…I work out with my friend Emma, and if I can’t go to a gym and play volleyball, I’ll just play outside with my sister,” Izzie said. 

Not only does volleyball help Izzie stay in shape throughout the year, it helps with her mental health as well. 

“It’s definitely helped me be more active and want to constantly be active. Like I know if I didn’t play volleyball, I probably would not be as in shape as I am now. And it’s definitely made me a really happy person because I just love volleyball so much,” Izzie said. “Whenever I leave practice, I’m always smiling, even if we do 200 burpees.”