Girls volleyball: Batavia's Rokos embraces challenge of playing defense

 
 
Updated 9/8/2022 8:20 PM

It might be difficult to find a play Teagan Rokos takes off.

Rokos, the Batavia sophomore defensive specialist, in fact, embraces the challenge and tries to go for every ball she can.

 

"She is incredibly scrappy and I really like to use the word 'gritty' for her," Batavia coach McKenna Kelsay said. "She is, honestly, almost literally [going to] run through a wall for a ball in terms of she's not going to let a ball drop."

Rokos most recently had six digs and two aces in a 25-22, 25-19 loss to Wheaton North on Tuesday.

"She moves everywhere," Kelsay said. "She has that defensive mindset, you know, that 'I'm getting the ball wherever it goes'. Which, is awesome and you need in a defensive specialist/libero."

Rokos, in her first season on varsity, "feels it's way more exciting to play when everyone is going for every single ball."

"The game is just so much more fast paced and fun ... every ball should be every person's ball," Rokos said. "Everyone should be trying to go for it. That's kind of how I think. If I think I can get this ball, I'm going to go for it."

Playing as a defensive specialist, suffice to say, fits her well. Beyond volleyball, Rokos plays center field on the softball diamond.

"I think my speed, it helps me a lot on the court going for balls," Rokos said. "I think, personally, that's a position I am meant to do. I couldn't see myself doing anything else because I personally love throwing myself everywhere getting a ball. That is where I am meant to be on the court."

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"My speed for softball definitely correlates to volleyball. I would not be able to do as much on the court if it wasn't for softball," Rokos continued. "I definitely think they help each other in ways."

St. Charles North freshman drawing elite comparisons:

Haley Burgdorf has a little ways to go before reaching sustained elite success, but that doesn't mean the St. Charles North freshman is not already drawing some comparisons to past players.

St. Charles North coach Lindsay Hawkins sees Burgdorf, a freshman outside hitter, in a similar fashion to former St. Charles East star Meghan Niski.

Niski, a four-year varsity member for the Saints, accumulated 1,277 kills, 702 digs, 123 blocks and 135 aces in her prep career before going on to play collegiately at James Madison.

"[Niski] is who I often compare [Burgdorf to]," Hawkins said on Tuesday following the North Stars' three-set victory over Wheaton Warrenville South.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Burgdorf had 14 kills in the dominant performance.

"As a freshman, Meghan Niski came in and she had the 'it factor'," Hawkins continued. "She demanded the ball and she was lights out from anywhere she was on the court. That's this one."

"My confidence is just going on the court and knowing who I am," Burgdorf said. "And helping the team with everything, and just trying to be the best out there. Especially because I am a freshman. It's hard, but I love this."

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