By Owen Gotimer
Leesburg (September 23, 2015) – Loudoun County High School senior Rachel Voketaitis has made a commitment to play volleyball at the University of Mary Washington starting in the 2016-2017 school year.
“I knew I wanted to play volleyball in college, however, I didn’t want to have the related stress associated in making a last minute decision,” the 6-foot-1 Voketaitis said. “I committed to play at UMW in May 2015 which has given me opportunities to meet and to get to know my future teammates and the coaching staff. It’s a family environment, and I’m looking forward to being a part of it. Right now, I simply want to enjoy my senior year in all that it has to offer.”
The Reston-native can put it in stone that she’ll enjoy her senior volleyball season as the Lady Raiders have dominated the volleyball scene in the state of Virginia over the last decade and with teammates like North Carolina-commit Taylor Borup and Nyack-commit Abby Wright, Loudoun County doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon.
In 2015, the Lady Raiders are currently 5-1 including a 2-1 mark in Conference 21B.
“After such a successful high school volleyball career at Loudoun County, I believe that we can win a fourth straight state championship,” said Voketaitis who plays club volleyball for NVVA ICE Elite. “The team has been ranked very high nationally over the past several years, and we understand the tradition that embodies this program. We are a new team and off to a great start. We are determined to win again, and I can’t wait for the season to unfold.”
Mary Washington is pretty happy with the way their season is unfolding as the Division III Eagles – including Broad Run graduate Rachel Hendricks (2014) – hold an 11-3 record early in their 2015 campaign.
“Following my contributions to the Loudoun County state championship run over the past several years, I hope to contribute a spirit of winning, intensity, desire and commitment to head coach Matt Troy and the UMW Eagle family,” said Voketaitis who will play outside hitter for the Eagles. “I am confident that my successes over these past several years will contribute to a winning environment. The UMW volleyball team has very good and talented players and my goal is to help the team win a Capital Athletic Conference championship and move deep into the NCAA tournament.”
After an early exit in the 2014 CAC tournament, Mary Washington is off to a hot start in the CAC this year sitting in second place behind reigning CAC champion Christopher Newport, but Voketaitis noted her choice to journey to UMW wasn’t dictated solely by volleyball.
“After going on several recruiting visits to many different campuses, I simply knew UMW was the right fit for me as it had all of the attributes I was looking for,” Voketaitis said. “UMW has a small to medium size feel, a historic and traditional campus environment and a very competitive volleyball program. It’s close to home, and, most importantly, it has a great economics and business program that will prepare me for life after college and volleyball.”
Volleyball: @LCHSRaiderRiot junior Rachel Voketaitis (@rvoketaitis) has made a commitment to play at D3 Mary Washington #LoCoCollegeCommit
— LoCoSports (@LoCoSports) May 19, 2015
Life after volleyball would not be a possibility for Voketaitis if it weren’t for all of her coaches along the way as well as her parents who pushed her to play volleyball when her height at a young age made her feel uncomfortable.
“I attended a small private school from preschool through the eighth grade where there weren’t many people with my height,” Voketaitis said. “As a result, my mother signed me up to play on my school’s team in an effort to develop confidence and to embrace my height. Needless to say, this was a great move on her part as my love for the game was immediate.
“From a club perspective, coach Darlene Swanson and coach Seng Chiu were instrumental in developing an appreciation for the game while honing my volleyball IQ. As I look back, I can see how all of this worked together in paving my future,” Voketaitis added. “Coach Rodrigo Gomes helped me to persevere and to push myself to always strive to be better. I am thankful to everyone — but especially my parents — who sacrificed a lot of time and money to see this dream fulfilled.”