By Angie Antonopoulos
Rylie McMahen, a senior at Center Grove High School who plays libero/defensive specialist for the girls varsity volleyball team, is known to bring energy, sportsmanship and awareness to the volleyball court.
“My job is passing the ball, being a good teammate and to have good court awareness,” McMahen said, and to “hit around the block.”
She has earned her spot on the varsity team through her drive to improve as a volleyball player and athlete.
“I would play with girls that are older and played different positions,” McMahen said, who played junior varsity part of her freshman year and junior varsity and varsity her junior and senior year.
She also gives credit to her mentors, Jenna Tadros, her club coach at Circle City Volleyball Club and her CGHS girls varsity volleyball coach Chris Due.
“He has high expectations of me, and he pushes me to increase my level of play,” McMahen said of her high school coach. “He’s a tough coach and he wants the most out of his players. This will help me as I head into college.”
McMahen started playing volleyball in the third grade with a church league. Up until eighth grade, she played softball, volleyball, basketball and cross country. When she entered high school, she decided to only play volleyball to balance her studies and competitive sports. She recently earned a partial scholarship to play Division I Women’s College Volleyball for Winthrop University in Rock Hill, South Carolina, where she plans to study communications and sports reporting.
“We’re really proud of her,” said Tracy McMahen, Rylie’s mother. “We feel very lucky. She always wants to keep getting better.”
Tracy said that she and her husband, Travis McMahen always told her to be a good teammate and work hard. “We want her to be a good leader,” she said.
Coach Due said that her leadership shows. “Rylie is our anchor both on and off the court,” he said. “She is the type of player that others look up to both as a role model, and as a friend. She is always smiling and bringing a great positive vibe to the gym.”
He said Rylie is one of the first to arrive to the gym and will help get practice going, “whether it’s setting up for practice, leading warm-ups and stretches, or just doing the little things … she is always leading.
Besides being the setter, Coach Due said Rylie touches the ball the most on the court, so she plays a significant role. “We not only rely on her for her passing in serve receive, but for her tenacious defense not letting balls hit the floor from opposing teams or doing the other important things like making coverage plays if we get blocked.”
He gives credit to her for anchoring the back row for a match with Carmel last year. “She was a key contributor to our big win versus Carmel, which helped keep our 7-year MIC championship going. I think experiences and opportunities like that have helped her become the great player she is today.”
THE MCMAHEN FILE
NAME: Rylie McMahen
HEIGHT: 5 feet, 8 inches
SPORT: Varsity volleyball
POSITION: Libero/defensive specialist
HOBBIES/INTERESTS: Water skiing, playing with her dog and hanging out with friends
COLLEGE PLANS: Winthrop University
FAVORITE MOVIE: The Sandlot
FAVORITE TV PROGRAM: Gilmore Girls
PARENTS: Travis and Tracy McMahen