Step­ping into a new role

Ru­ble ready to lead youth­ful La Plata vol­ley­ball team into 2016

Maryland Independent - - Sports - By AJ MA­SON aj­ma­son@somd­news.com

While on the vol­ley­ball court Devin Ru­ble is fre­quently all smiles and never lets the pres­sure get to her one bit.

The ju­nior out­side hit­ter on the La Plata vol­ley­ball team is ea­ger in ven­tur­ing into new ter­ri­tory for the 2016 sea­son — be­ing a leader.

“It is def­i­nitely a lit­tle in­tim­i­dat­ing,” said Ru­ble on tak­ing on the new role. “But I re­ally love all these girls and they are al­ways such good friends of mine that I don’t re­ally think of my­self as a leader whether they think I am or not. But it is great to have an op­por­tu­nity to be a leader, so I hope they ac­cept that.”

To go along with be­ing in the lead­er­ship role, Ru­ble, one of the South­ern Mary­land Ath­letic Con­fer­ence’s best hit­ters, will not only be a huge part of­fen­sively, but will have to dig out spikes de­fen­sively.

Last sea­son, Ru­ble recorded a con­fer­ence-high 157 kills to go along with 117 digs, 12 ser­vice aces, 11 blocks and six as­sists in lead­ing the War­riors to an un­de­feated 6-0 record in SMAC’s Po­tomac Di­vi­sion (11-6 over­all). She was named the All-County Ath­lete of the Year and picked up All-SMAC first­team hon­ors.

“What she brings to this team is that she in­spires the girls to play harder, dig deeper and ev­ery­one just re­sponds,” said La Plata head coach Bill Young, who has also coached Ru­ble in club dur­ing her youth days. “When she gets a good hit, they are all ex­cited and plays bet­ter and fol­low her ex­am­ple.”

Af­ter lead­ing the soft­ball team to a Class 2A state ti­tle in May, Ru­ble spent the sum­mer do­ing ply­o­met­ric drills to im­prove her agility and weight train­ing to im­prove her over­all strength on the vol­ley­ball court.

Ru­ble played for the South­ern Mary­land Vol­ley­ball Club on the 18-and-Un­der team from Novem­ber to April to hone her skills up against top-notch com­pe­ti­tion. That ex­pe­ri­ence and off­sea­son train­ing will make Ru­ble an even bet­ter player, mak­ing it very tough for op­pos­ing teams to deal with her.

“This year my goal is to work on my con­trol in­stead of just swing­ing at the ball,” added Ru­ble, who will en­ter­ing her third year as a var­sity starter.

She is one of five ju­niors on La Plata, which also fea­tures three fresh­men, three sopho­mores and just one se­nior.

“A big ex­pec­ta­tion for this team is to grow as the sea­son goes on and our suc­cess rate with be judged on how fast we grow as a unit,” Ru­ble said. “This team has a lot of drive and we all want it.”

On how Ru­ble has im­pacted her on the court, sopho­more set­ter Ava Krahling, also a mem­ber of the soft­ball team said, “I look up to Devin a lot. We’ve been play­ing vol­ley­ball and soft­ball for a while now and her be­ing on this team gives me a lot of con­fi­dence and she is al­ways there when I need her. Know­ing that she is there and me set­ting her I know that she is go­ing to put the ball away be­cause she has so much power. She is over­all a great ath­lete.”

Young said that Ru­ble, re­cently named one of the team cap­tains for this sea­son, from a year ago and is ready for the tran­si­tion.

“Devin makes far less mis­takes than she did last year and is much more con­sis­tent. “Even though she had a lot of kills last year, she had some mis­cues, but she is much more im­proved com­ing into this sea­son.”

Young added that along with Ru­ble the War­riors will have some other of­fen­sive threats this sea­son.

“We don’t have any weak play­ers, they love hav­ing fun,” he said. “I can’t work them hard enough, they typ­i­cally want to work harder than I push them. I think the big­gest dif­fer­ence is that we have more of­fen­sive weapons, so it will be harder to key on one per­son. I’m very ex­cited for this sea­son to be­gin.

La Plata will open the sea­son next Tues­day with a SMAC Po­tomac Di­vi­sion match at West­lake, sched­uled for 5:30 p.m.

PHOTO BY ROB WORMAN

Ju­nior out­side hit­ter Devin Ru­ble, a re­turn­ing starter, will lead the La Plata War­riors vol­ley­ball team in 2016. Ru­ble led the con­fer­ence with 157 kills in 2015 and was named the All-County Ath­lete of the Year as well as boast­ing All-SMAC first-team hon­ors.

STAFF PHOTO BY AJ MA­SON

Ju­nior out­side hit­ter Devin Ru­ble, a re­turn­ing starter, will lead the La Plata War­riors vol­ley­ball team in the 2016 sea­son. Ru­ble led the con­fer­ence with 157 kills last year.

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