Rosenblatt rises above

Freshman starter finds a home on varsity and stays humble in the spotlight


Caroline Owen

Lexi Rosenblatt surveys the Jaguar side of the court during the third set of the varsity’s sweep of LBJ on Sept. 2.

“She’s a freshman,” the announcer yells as the youngest player on varsity runs onto the court. Later in the game, the opposing team will realize they have just been spiked on by a 14-year-old. 

 Lexi Rosenblatt didn’t want to play volleyball at first. It wasn’t until her parents strongly encouraged her to join a team sport that she realized how much volleyball, and the community that came with it, would mean to her. 

Growing up, Rosenblatt often watched her older sibling, Ami, play volleyball. 

“She always had so much interest in my games, even more than I probably had sometimes,” Ami said. 

When her parents encouraged her to branch out to a new sport, Lexi was motivated by her competitive spirit.

“Being a younger sister, I always wanted to do what my sibling did, but then do it better,” Rosenblatt said. “Once I started to play volleyball, I immediately fell in love with it.”

Her family was always more than supportive of her volleyball career, even if it meant not having her around as much.

When I found out I made varsity I was ecstatic. I had wanted to do that for so long. Being the only freshman can sometimes be weird but they [the upperclassmen] are super inclusive and we are such a bonded team.

— Lexi Rosenblatt

“Lexi’s been committing like this for years, ever since she started playing club volleyball. This just seems like a part of her now,” Ami said. “Otherwise, she’s still just my little sister who won’t stop bouncing around the house.”

At the beginning of her career, Rosenblatt was trained by her dad, who had played in college. Since Rosenblatt was able to constantly practice with what was essentially a live-in coach, her skill set grew rapidly. 

“My dad coached all of my teams and taught me all of the basics,” Rosenblatt said. “I think my dad pushing me and working with me outside of practice really influenced me to become a better player.”

Rosenblatt soon transitioned from a recreational volleyball player to a high-level athlete, partially due to the high-level training of her club volleyball team.  

“Playing at a national level can be stressful. We have four practices a week and multiple out of state and in state tournaments per month once the season starts, but it is so worth it to me.”

While she got most of her training and development from the competitive environment of club volleyball, Rosenblatt also played for Lamar Middle School. She looked forward to playing in high school as well. In fact, she familiarized herself with the program long before she actually began her freshman year.

“I started going to McCallum games growing up because I lived in the neighborhood and always thought it would be fun to be a freshman on varsity,” Rosenblatt said. “Before tryouts, I went to the spring and summer league. I got familiar with the team and the coach.”

Lexi Rosenblatt sets the ball to teammate Vaughn Vandegrift in a match against Northeast. The varsity volleyball team swept the Northeast Raiders in its first district match of the season. The Knights cruised in the first set 25-11. Rosenblatt said the game allowed the team to work on specific issues within a game setting. “It was a good chance to run plays,” she said. “We needed to work on communicating more and talking on the court.” The varsity put together its most dominant set in the second, winning by 16 points, 25-9. The Knights lost their early momentum in the final set, still winning, but the Raiders competed much more evenly before the Knights ultimately prevailed, 25-18, to complete the sweep. “We just fell out of it during that last set,” Rosenblatt said. “We got lazy because we knew we would win even if we didn’t try that hard. We stopped communicating.” (Jolie Gabriel )

When tryouts rolled around, years of anticipation about joining the program finally came to the surface. Rosenblatt hoped to make the varsity squad, a high target for a freshman even with her experience and skill level.

“Multiple people told me they thought I’d make varsity, but I was still really nervous going into tryouts,” Rosenblatt said. “My mindset was, ‘I’m going to do my best, and coach has seen me play, so whatever happens, happens.’”

Rosenblatt’s level of play, however, spoke for itself, landing her a spot on the team. Although she is the only freshman, she fits right in with her teammates because of the shared passion on the court. 

“When I found out I made varsity I was ecstatic,” Rosenblatt said. “I had wanted to do that for so long. Being the only freshman can sometimes be weird because the upperclassmen are all in calculus, and I am in geometry, but they are super inclusive, and we are such a bonded team.”

Although being a fish on a team with 11 seniors sounds intimidating, the upperclassman embraced “Flexi”—freshman Lexi—both as a key player on the court and as a loveable addition to the team dynamic. Senior Jayden Mason observed Rosenblatt’s sportsmanship from the get-go.

Even though she was trying to impress and do her best at tryouts, she wasn’t trying to one-up anyone. She is very humble and always willing to improve, which is amazing.

— senior Jayden Mason

“As soon as I met her, she was the most kind-hearted person,” Mason said. “She is so mature and fits right in with us. Even though she was trying to impress and do her best at tryouts, she wasn’t trying to one-up anyone. She is very humble and always willing to improve, which is amazing.”

Rosenblatt is savoring every moment of the season, especially the moments spent beside the older players whose time at McCallum is so fleeting. She also anticipates the learning curve of transitioning from newbie to veteran so quickly.

“Next year will be weird, especially for me because the seniors have been, and will always be, a huge part of my first year,” Rosenblatt said. “Next year will definitely be a learning experience, going from being the ‘freshman on varsity’ to being one of only four previously on varsity.”

Rosenblatt is also looking forward to a future in volleyball beyond high school.

“I definitely think I want to play volleyball in college,” Rosenblatt said. “Since I was able to make varsity as a freshman, this year has really put that idea into my mind. If I was able to do this, then maybe I could go on to play in college.”

The skill and athleticism that she has developed through years of volleyball are merely products of the human connections and confidence that the sport has given her.

“Looking back on the reasons my parents pushed so hard for me to play a team sport has made me realize how much it helped me make such good friends and find strong values in my life, like having to play as a team rather than as an individual,” Rosenblatt said. “I’ve met some of my best friends through volleyball. Even when it gets really hard, and you have to run and stuff, you still want to show up just because you get to see those people.”