By JOSEPH GARCIA
As one of only three seniors on the 2012 Lady Panthers volleyball team, second year varsity player Samantha Rimann is often the vocal leader, encouraging teammates and always doing it with a smile.
Rimann, who turns 18 on Oct. 20, is one of Liberty Hill’s finest all-around volleyball players who can fill up the stat sheet in many different areas. But she also possesses the intangibles to be an excellent leader.
“She is one of our best all-around contributors and has really come up big for us,” said Liberty Hill Coach Gretchen Peterson. “She is a good leader. She talks to (her teammates) and keeps them talking. Sometimes she gets on them too, but she is a good leader. She has a great attitude about things. Even when she is mad at herself she doesn’t let it affect her too terribly much and she knows when it’s time to dig in and the girls react well to that. ”
In her second year at Liberty Hill High School, Rimann has the ability to play any position on the court. She plays right side when she is front row and then back row she plays left side.
Rimann and Peyton Redmond lead the Lady Panther outside hitters and the senior is in the top three on the team in the digs category. She always records a couple of blocks, multiple kills and several assists every game as well.
“She is in our top three in pretty much every category,” Peterson said. “She could probably play anywhere for us. She is very well rounded.”
Another unique aspect to Rimann’s game is the fact that she is a southpaw. As a left-handed player she often throws off defenders with her delivery, giving the opposition additional problems with which to deal.
“It’s different for (opposing) blockers and hitters,” Peterson explained. “Even though you can tell them she is left handed it’s just instinct to watch the other hand. She also hits so well and is just a very good hitter.”
Rimann and her family, which includes four brothers and three sisters, moved to Liberty Hill two years ago from Round Rock. Rimann said she enjoys the smaller community much better.
“I like it a lot more than Round Rock because it’s a lot smaller and a closer community,” said Rimann. “Everybody kind of knows everybody.”
The Rimann name has been one of prominence in the fall semester of 2012. One of Rimann’s younger sisters, Danielle, has made a splash in her freshman year on the cross country team. Danielle has led the girls’ team to many gold medals this year and heads a team that will be the favorite in the upcoming District 8-3A Meet on Wednesday, Oct. 24, in Lampasas.
“Her sister, the freshman Danielle Rimann, is a cross country runner so the Rimann family is really helping out the girls’ side,” Peterson said.
Older sister said she adores her younger sibling and says Danielle is more like her best friend. She also said, however, that Danielle ought to stick to cross country and let her handle the volleyball.
Rimann, whose favorite subject is math, first played the game of volleyball when she was in seventh grade. She said she tried out every sport at the time and volleyball is the one she liked the most.
She seemingly made a wise decision.
“Volleyball is my sport,” Rimann said jokingly. “Me running is like her playing volleyball. I love her, she is my best friend. We are all really proud of her and every time I go see her run it makes me want to cry because I am so happy.”
Already having claimed a share of the district title and filled with confidence, Rimann is a firm believer that she and the team, with their selfless attitude, can make a long run in the playoffs this year.
She said the difference from last year’s team, which won in the opening round of the playoffs before losing to La Vernia, is night and day.
“We are very together and less individuals,” she said. “On this team we are all about being together, playing together and winning together. I personally think we can go all the way. Jaycie (Pluenneke) hurt herself, but I think we can still do it because we have the talent and the will.”
Behind a good team is always good coaching and Rimann said Coach Peterson’s style is just what the doctor ordered. Rather than always praising them and telling the team how great they are, Coach Peterson keeps them grounded and is always trying to help them improve in the necessary areas.
“She is very blunt,” Rimann said of Peterson. “She doesn’t sugar-coat things and she is going to tell you what you need to do to be better and what you need to fix in order for us to play more as a team and more focused. You need to hear what you need to hear in order to get better.”
Once her playing days at Liberty Hill are over, Rimann plans to attend college and become a nutritionist or dietitian for professional athletes. She is hoping to play volleyball at Abilene Christian University, but one way or another she expects to be playing at the next level.
Any college would be lucky to have a do-it-all player like Rimann, so she is not sweating the recruiting process.
“We started late with the recruiting process, but we are really interested in ACU and I hope that works out,” Rimann said. “But if not, there are a bunch of colleges everywhere that are always interested.”
While her future is still undecided in terms of where she will go, Rimann and Company will forge into the postseason with one solitary goal in mind – to win a state championship.