LACONIA — Rylee Littlefield, the setter on the Laconia High School varsity volleyball team since her freshman year, is the middle link in the bump-set-spike chain of events. Now a senior, she has been setting her team mates up for success for four years, and during a match on Sept. 26 against Kingswood, she completed her 1,000th assist,.
Littlefield said that she had set the goal of 1,000 assists, but was surprised that it arrived in the sixth game of the 14-game regular season.
"I didn't think it was going to be (that) night, I thought it was going to be at the end of the season," she said. Littlefield started her high school career with a bang, recording 365 assists during her freshmen year. Her sophomore and junior year campaigns weren't quite as prolific, and she entered her senior year with 868 assists.
Asked to explain the achievement, she talks about good fortune – she had been a setter in middle school, and the high school team lacked a setter when she joined in her freshman year – and she turns the attention to her team mates.
"It all plays into one. I have to get a good pass, I get a good set, and we have to get a good kill (spike)... It's all a teamwork effort, for sure," she said.
But her coach, Jeff Twombly, said it's not a fluke of circumstances that Littlefield has built such an exceptional stat line.
"Rylee has an excellent work ethic. She is here on time, every single practice. She works hard, and the girls respect her for that." Twombly added that she brings a positive attitude to the court, and that other players look to her for leadership.
"She makes it happen for us. In game time, she is able to rally the girls, she has great presence... If you were to watch Laconia play, we don't get the best passes in the world. She takes a lot of bad passes and turns them into gold."
The last time Laconia has won a state volleyball title was in 1999. This year's team currently has a record of five wins, two losses, and the next game on the schedule is a home match against Hanover. Twombly likes what he sees in his squad, calling them "a great team, very strong and very solid," and would like to gather enough wins this season to host a playoff contest, something that the team hasn't done in the four years since Twombly came on as assistant coach.
Littlefield aspires to play volleyball beyond high school, and is currently looking for a school, likely in Division III but perhaps Division II, where she can both get playing time and enroll in a good health science program – she'd like to work someday as an ultrasound technician, or perhaps pediatrician.
"It will be nice get a breath of fresh air, to see what's out there beyond Laconia," she said, but first she wants to take care of business with her high school team. She started her high school career in a big way, and she wants to do the same this year.
"I want to end with a bang, leave my footprint here. This program means a lot to me," she said.
Rylee Littlefield, a senior and setter on the Laconia High School volleyball team, recently recorded her 1,000th assist. (Laconia Daily Sun photo/Adam Drapcho)
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