Rumsey leading the way for Elmira
A lot has changed for Taryn Rumsey this year.
The past few years she was a part of a very experienced Elmira College volleyball team.
On a roster full of seniors last season, she was one of a handful of underclassmen who made a big impact.
Now, Rumsey is one of Elmira's seniors and all those veterans she played with for years are graduated.
It's now Rumsey's time to lead and try and help a young Elmira team compete with the best in the conference and the country.
"It's very different," Rumsey said. "It's a whole different dynamic. We aren't strong in experience and leadership, the leadership is kind of placed on a few people. We are very young, we have a lot of fresh faces seeing playing time.
From the time she got to Elmira the Mansfield graduate has always been a vocal player. She's always been willing to take control on the floor. Now, Rumsey knows it's up to her to be the loudest voice on the floor.
"It's actually fun," she said. "I think I was absolutely ready for this. I knew coming in I was going to have to be a leader. I didn't know I would take to it so well. I have always been vocal, it's an easy transition to be the main leader of the team."
One of the biggest adjustments for Rumsey is knowing that the ball is going to be set toward her more than anyone else on the team.
"It's very different," Rumsey said. "Sometimes there is a lot of pressure on me. There is a lot of pressure to score and get points for us when it matters. It makes me feel honored when I'm that person that gets all the sets.
"My coaches trust me. My teammates trust me. It's a good and a bad thing in a sense. Sometimes teams do take me out of it. They are digging me or blocking me and that's when other teammates need to step up and score."
With multiple time All-American Sasha Zavadska the past three years Rumsey knew that teams weren't always focused on her.
Now things have changed and she knows teams are working to figure out ways to stop her.
"I didn't have to worry about that too much because she (Zavadska) was the power hitter," Rumsey said. "It was easier for me to score. Now I hear coaches yelling watch 16. I feel that pressure now from that. It's something I had to get used to the last couple weeks. It's going to be really focused on in conference play."
While it is tough when teams focus on you, it is a big complement for Rumsey to know that teams are preparing for her.
"It's honorable that they think of me as somebody that they think of me as a threat," Rumsey said. "It's nice that they think they have to watch out for me. I just know I have to be confident."
No matter how much teams have focused on Rumsey she has still come through for Elmira, leading the Empire 8 Conference in kills.
"When I saw I was leading the conference in kills, I thought 'wow,'" Rumsey said. "It was always Sasha and I was always behind her. Now I get 55 sets a game and my setter is great and she puts the ball where I tell her to. She has helped me so much and so has everyone else. All those factors together have made it rewarding for me."
With such a young team there are ups and downs during the year, but Rumsey has liked seeing how the team has improved.
Last week Elmira beat Alfred State. That came right after a weekend tournament where Alfred State had beaten Elmira in five games.
"I think every team goes through a rough time, a rough weekend, I wasn't sure that's what it was though," Rumsey said of the tournament. "But, beating them (Alfred State) last night, showed we are okay, we are able to bounce back and get better. It really made me happy that we could beat them, especially not in five (games). I'm looking forward to some harder games coming up. This really boosts my confidence in my team."
For Rumsey she realizes it's her last year, and she just wants to go out on a high note this year.
"At this point I'm kind of ready," she said. "I understand it's my last season. I'm content with the fact it is what it is. I do want to go as far as possible. I want to maximize this as much as I can. If that means win conference or winning ECAC's I want to come out with a good end. I try not to look at it as my last game. I just want it to end well.
"It makes me want to finish more strongly than ever. Who wants to end their last season in a loss. I want to win some kind of championship or make it to the NCAA's. That would be special for me if we did finish well. It's a growing year for Elmira volleyball, but I want it to end well."
The perfect ending for Rumsey would be making the NCAA Tournament.
For years Elmira has come close. Now it's Rumsey's team. She is the leader of a young squad and it would be extra special if this group could make it there.
"It would be more than I could ask for if we could get there," Rumsey said. "We have been very, very close the last three years. It was within reach, we just couldn't do it. If we could do it this year, it would say a lot about what these younger girls have in them, we will have to see how it goes."