Freshmen don't often get a chance to play major roles on good teams like Fallston, but Rachael Holehouse is a little different from most volleyball players. The sport runs in her family. Her older sister, Roberta, is the starting libero for Penn State's national championship team, ranked No. 1 in the nation with an 18-0 record.
Rachael, 14, wasn't sure what to expect this year, but she's quickly become a consistent setter for Fallston, which raced to a 10-0 start. She also plays for the Time Out volleyball club during the summer.
How hard has it been to adjust to being a member of the varsity team as a freshman?
It's been pretty tough, I guess, with all the stuff we have to do. For the most part, it's been good. All the girls have been helpful. It's been fun.
Were you surprised to get a starting role with a team as good as this as a freshman?
I really didn't know what the team was going to look like. I really wasn't sure where I was going to be. I didn't start off setting right away; the first couple of matches, I started off outside, but I guess they needed another setter.
Did you feel a lot of pressure because you're a freshman on a team with a lot of juniors and seniors?
Not really. There's another freshman on the team with me. I'm just trying to do my best. I've learned a lot about setting and other stuff this year.
How good is this team?
We're pretty good. We haven't lost yet this year. Hopefully, we'll make it through the regionals and to the states.
How much have you learned about volleyball from your sister?
Oh, I've learned a lot. I used to go to all her club matches when I was little and watched her play. She taught me some of the basics, but not a lot about setting because she's not a setter. She's seen me play at Time Out but not yet at Fallston.
Do any of your teammates know your sister?
Some of the Fallston girls went to a Penn State camp this summer, and [my sister] was their coach and they got to know her. I wasn't there, but they said they had fun.
Have you gone up to Penn State much to see your sister play?
I used to go up to all of the home matches, like every Saturday. But I don't do that as much now, although I still try to get up there a lot.
Did you go to Penn State's national title match last season?
No, I didn't get to go to that. It was in California. My mom and dad went, and I watched it on TV. I was pretty excited for her. They played Stanford in that one [and won in five sets].
What other sports do you want to play in high school?
I want to play basketball in the winter and maybe tennis in the spring. I've played a lot of basketball, but this would be my first year playing real tennis.
Does your sister have a big championship ring?
Yes, it is very large. It's huge, and it's nice. I'd like to get one, too.