Bound for volleyball stardom, the Starck sisters have brought a new dimension to the Rampart girls’ volleyball program.
Anjelina, a senior, and Izzy, a freshman, have helped Rampart to a strong start in a strange season as the Rams’ powerful offense continues to surprise local teams.
On Wednesday, with the help of the dominant Starck sisters, Rampart claimed a three-set 5A/4A PPAC victory over Liberty (25-18, 25-19, 25-22), marking the team’s fourth straight win.
Liberty held strong in all three sets, and at the end of the third set the Lancers bounced back from a five-point deficit to challenge Rampart late, but a kill by Brielle Edwards clinched the 25-22 win.
Rampart has not faced a ton of adversity with just four set losses this season. The Rams lost to 4A No. 2 Cheyenne Mountain earlier this year, and dropped one set on Monday against Pine Creek. But coach Nikki Bloemen said she is happy with the way her team has responded to bumps in the road during close sets.
“We have been focusing more on our confidence and not getting comfortable,” Bloemen said. “I think that was part of our problem (against Cheyenne Mountain) and we have seen that a lot in matches leading up to tonight, so I felt like tonight we did a good job finishing and not giving up too many runs and points, but that’s still something we need to work on.”
Anjelina Starck, committed to Penn State, had a season-high 21 kills for Rampart, also a career high in a three-set match. Izzy Starck, a setter with Division I interest, had 40 assists, two aces and a block.
It’s been more than five years since the Starck sisters have played together, and their love and trust for one another is clear on the court — not to mention raw talent.
Anjelina, an All-American, has the powerful swing, but it’s her sister that sees the court with X-ray vision.
“I always wanted to play every position, but with setting I like leading the court and directing what happens and I think that makes me a bit different from my sister,” Izzy said.
Izzy said she was shy at first as she tried to fit in as a young setter. But with Anjelina’s help, the Rampart volleyball team quickly welcomed her to the family, and her confidence leading the offense has only grown.
“It’s funny because Anj is such a quiet personality. She is one of our captains but she is one of those people that leads by example. And Izzy is sarcastic, she’s spunky, she has that intensity,” Bloemen said. “And I like the different side of Anj that we are seeing this year just being right next to her sister in that rotation and they are working really well together.”
Rampart also boasts a second All-American hitter in Riley Simpson. And with teams focusing on Simpson and Anjelina, Izzy has the opportunity to orchestrate some surprises for other teams.
“I think this year we are doing a better job with other people stepping in, too, where teams can’t just camp out on the outside, they have to recognize Brielle (Edwards) in the middle and Hadleigh (Richardson) on the right side. And having Izzy to be able to run all of those options makes us a little more dynamic and teams don’t know what to expect from us.”
Senior Riley Simpson had 15 kills and two blocks against Liberty. Edwards had two aces and two blocks.
With five matches next week, Bloemen is excited to see where her team ends up after concluding the regular season.
“We talk about the idea of getting better after every single match, and then imagine where we will be at the end of next week,” Bloemen said.
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