Lakeview Academy volleyball player Megan Rochester has been a consistent competitor for her team all season, but she may have saved her best performance when it mattered most.
Rochester had 22 kills, 14 digs, 19.5 blocks and two aces in 18 games over seven matches last week, helping to lead the Lady Lions (16-17) to a third-place finish in the Area 8-A/AA tournament Saturday, and their third straight state tournament appearance.
Her efforts were rewarded kindly, as she was named to the All-Area second team following the tournament.
“It has been a really fun year,” Rochester said. “It’s been a pretty big growing experience. We (the team) all seem to click.”
In her second year as Lakeview Academy’s varsity middle hitter, Rochester’s role has become an important one. Being in the middle of traffic on the floor, she stays involved in the game on offense and defense. This is reflected in her statistics, having nearly as many blocks as kills in last week’s games, including seven blocks and seven kills in the final day of the area tournament action Saturday.
“On defense, I’m dependent on my back (hitters),” Rochester said. “Offense is fun for me. I have a great setter.”
But playing a position that keeps Rochester alert on both sides of the ball hasn’t overwhelmed her yet. Being the starting center for the Lakeview Academy basketball team, and a participant of the school’s spring musical, the junior is used to having big roles in multiple situations.
“Sometimes it gets a little tiring,” Rochester said. “But now that I’ve gotten past my freshman and sophomore year it’s gotten better.”
Lakeview Academy’s volleyball coach Karen Towles believes that Rochester’s best attributes as an athlete is her quick hands and feet and her high jumps, which allow her to “hover” over the net.
“She’s natural for the middle hitter position,” Towles said. “She has good footwork, she is a quick learner and she is very coachable.”
Rochester’s height also has played a important role in her success. At 5-foot-9, she is the third-tallest player on the team, and can reach for hits that shorter players would likely miss.
“Being taller helps,” Rochester said. “I can jump and get over the net easier.”
Along with her height and experience that comes with strenuous basketball conditioning, Rochester’s determination and desire to win has taken her a long way. Though she is already a proven leader on this year’s team—which is made up of five seniors and eight juniors— she hopes to be a stronger leader in her final season of volleyball next year.
“Megan’s tenacity and desire to compete in the area tournament really showed,” Towles said. “She stepped up as a true competitor would, with spark and fire.”
Rochester expects to play at her best again as Lakeview Academy prepares to play Blessed Trinity in the opening round of the state tournament at 3 p.m. Thursday at Wesleyan.
“We just have to work hard all week and leave it all on the court,” Rochester said.