On rare occasions, athletes have the potential to transform the performance of their entire team. Players of program-changing caliber are few and far between, so when they come around, fans and coaches alike can’t help but notice. Emma Rhodes, Temecula Valley High School’s class of 2022 star right-side hitter, encompasses the idea of putting the team on her back. As a high school freshman, she made 8 blocks and hit a .469 to lead her team to victory in the state championship. From then on she has continued to be a force to be reckoned with at the net. So much so that she earned the role of captain on the A1 Youth Girls Team USA squad.
Rhodes’ phenomenal play, combined with a 3.5 GPA, has garnered the attention of prestigious universities, such as UCLA, USC, and Oregon. Her athletic and intellectual prowess aren’t her only assets, though; during her interview, she humbly stated that “the secret to success is having good team chemistry and playing your heart out on each point.” This comes from advice given by Rhodes’ biggest mentor, Arizona University volleyball legend, Dana Burkholder, who “always reminds [Rhodes] to stay calm and focus on her technique.” Burkholder, who still ranks #1 in AU history in five statistical categories, will be Rhodes’ coach at her elite club team, Forza1. Evidently, Rhodes soaked up some of Burkholder’s sports IQ in order to earn the #20 spot in the national player rankings.
Over the course of Rhode’s volleyball career, she’s picked up some superstitions. She has to eat Panera Bread and listen to music for at least 30 minutes before every game, and when she’s on the court, she has to wipe her shoes before each point. When she’s not on the volleyball court, Rhodes enjoys cooking and watching ‘The 100’. She also uses the Press Sports App because she “loves having sports in [her] feed as motivation” to succeed. Rhodes separates herself from most players through this motivation. No matter how difficult or tedious the drill, she always “has a good work ethic and loves feedback.” With talent like Rhodes’, fans can hope to see phenomenal blocks and booming spikes for years to come. To watch her highlight tape and keep up with her progress, follow her on Press Sports @11_Emmarhodes and on twitter @Emma_rhodes1vb.
Article by Press Sports Analyst Adam Davault