Ava Bell, Rouse’s 6-1 junior middle blocker notched 17 kills in a Friday night win over Georgetown but the junior, who has committed to University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, still remembers what it was like to hear the Rouse faithful cheering “She’s a freshman” when Bell pounded back to back kills in the Raiders bi-district playoff win over Lake Travis two years ago.
“That was such an amazing experience,” said Bell. “The seniors that year were so good to me, they talked to me when I was nervous and texted me encouraging thoughts. It was just a great year and a great life lesson.”
Flash forward to this season as Bell has extended that leadership to current Rouse standout freshman Grayson Schirpik.
“Grayson is just an amazing player, but we all get nervous, it’s important to make her comfortable and to provide the leadership I got two years ago,” Bell said.
Bell, Schirpik and the Raiders are 32-7, ranked fourth in the Texas Girls Coaches Association Class 5A polls and are currently unbeaten in district play.
“We knew that we could be special this summer, we have a very talented, athletic team and Coach Thompson (Jacob) keeps us mentally focused,” Bell said.
Bell added that this group of Raiders is driven to be a better team.
“We have a group passion for the game and we push each other to be better every match, it is a lot of fun to practice and play,” Bell said.
Bell moved into the Rouse area the summer of her eighth grade year, otherwise, she would have ended up playing for the Vandergrift Vipers. Ava has an older sister, Hannah, at the University of North Texas, who had a soccer career sidelined by an injury, and an 11-year-old sister, Annie, who is somewhat uncommitted athletically.
“Annie plays lots of sports and loves them all, someday she may commit to just one but not someday soon,” laughed Ava.
Bell decided on UNC-Chapel Hill after a visit showed her the excellence both academically and athletically.
“They have a wonderful tradition athletically that I want to be part of and academically they are world class,” said Bell who is taking advanced placement classes at Rouse.
Bell has a relatively simple formula for success.
“It’s all about work ethic, athletics, academics, you have to make the effort and put in the time to succeed,” Bell said.
Short, sweet and well-stated by the dominating middle blocker.