By: John Raffel
Ruggles giving Sacred Heart volleyball major spark
Sophie Ruggles is having a strong volleyball season and is expected to be a standout for the Sacred Heart basketball team.
Ironically, Ruggles has been contacted by Michigan State about playing for the row team.
Sacred Heart's standout senior is in her third postseason of volleyball. She's been a middle hitter every year. A key aspect to her top-notch play, she indicated, has been her court awareness.
“I'm being smart in where I put the ball so I can make those shots,” she said. “This season is a little different. We have a freshman setter and a senior setter I have been hitting with. We'll see. Volleyball is such a team sport. I'm more focused on winning and getting our team better than my own stuff.”
The Irish have boasted teams that have made impressive runs in past seasons. With Ruggles leading the way, the Irish have also been competitive this season.
'We jell very well together and are getting good chemistry,” Ruggles said. 'We're all competitive and want to win. I'm very excited about this year and this whole season.”
Sacred Heart coach Krista Davis has enjoyed watching and coaching Ruggles.
“She's such a strong middle hitter,” Davis said. “She's the best hitter on our team actually. If the team is looking for a kill or a block or to convert on a point, the team will get it to her whether she's in the front row or back row. She's a very dynamic player. She's a smart player, and probably the best player who has come through my program. It's my fourth season.”
Ruggles has improved from last year, Davis has observed.
“She has a good court awareness,” Davis said. “She's also a leader on the court who makes everyone else around her better. She will take a younger player and help them with technique. They look up to her and respect her and take her advice.”
As of Sept. 19, the Irish were 18-3-4. Ruggles had 190 kills and is hitting .260 with 67 blocks.
“She played travel ball, two sports,” Davis said. “She's probably the star basketball player at our high school as well.”
Ruggles has achieved plenty of success in both basketball and volleyball.
“They're probably about the same for me,” she said.
Michigan State bowling coaches attended one of Ruggles' AAU basketball tournaments.
“They said they were taking athletes because there's not that many rowing programs,” Ruggles said. “It's exciting for me because it would be a chance to compete on the Big Ten level and be a Big Ten athlete.”
“She's keeping her options open,” Davis said. “I think she could play either basketball or volleyball if she'd like to. She's an athlete, a good person and a good student. She's the total package.”