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The Student News Site of Rock Ridge High School

THE BLAZE

The Student News Site of Rock Ridge High School

THE BLAZE

The Student News Site of Rock Ridge High School

THE BLAZE

Lola Aguilar Bumps, Sets, and Spikes Her Way to Victory

Junior Lola Aguilar recently committed to Randolph-Macon College as part of the Class of 2029 to continue her six-year-long journey as a volleyball player.
Junior+Lola+Aguilar+spikes+the+ball+to+the+other+team+in+a+match+at+her+volleyball+club%2C+Loudoun+Elite.+Photo+courtesy+of+Lola+Aguilar.
Junior Lola Aguilar spikes the ball to the other team in a match at her volleyball club, Loudoun Elite. Photo courtesy of Lola Aguilar.

Junior Lola Aguilar’s volleyball journey has been nothing short of a spike in success — from her early days in Charlestown to her dedicated years with her volleyball club, Loudoun Elite. After a flurry of emails and showcases on the court, she landed a spot at Randolph-Macon College. Her leap to college volleyball is a testament to her hard work and passion for the sport.

 

Q: When did you start playing volleyball? 

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A: I started playing around fifth grade to start getting in shape. I wanted to get into a sport, and volleyball just happened to be the one that I picked, and I stuck with it. [Before volleyball, I played] softball, but I didn’t like it too much. I [played] volleyball in my middle school in Charlestown, [where] I grew up. I went to Charlestown Middle. I played on Junior Varsity in sixth grade, and then we moved here, but they didn’t have sports at Stone Hill Middle School. [During that time,] I played in private and then got with my volleyball club, Loudoun Elite. I’ve been with Loudon Elite for around five years. I moved to a different club one year but came right back. 

 

Q: How did you balance playing on the school’s volleyball team and Loudoun Elite’s volleyball team?

A: High school season starts a little bit before club season. Depending on how far we would go during the high school season, it would [sometimes mix] with each other, but not too often. During the high school season, we had practice every single day, except for Saturdays. And then during club season, we have practice every Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday, with conditioning on Tuesdays and Thursdays. As soon as high school season ended, I went right into the club and it didn’t feel like that big of a job. 

 

Q: What is your routine during the club season?

A: Practices start at 7:30 p.m. I actually prefer it more than when I had practice right after school because I feel like I can get more work done between the end of school and the beginning of practice. 

[After] I get [to Loudoun Elite] for practice, I’ll change into all my gear, my knee pads, and my shoes. I’ll go help set up the net, probably warm up a little, and go through practice. At the end of practice, the coach will talk to us about things we need to work on for the next tournament. I’m a captain for my team, and I’ve been captain for six out of the seven years that I’ve played. The majority of [the teams I’ve been in] I’ve been captain for, so I definitely like talking to the girls and helping out where I can. [After practice], we’ll take down the net, I’ll take off my stuff, and get home, because when I get home, [it’s very late]. I get home at around 10 and take a shower so that I’m in bed by around 11:30 p.m. or 12:00 a.m. It’s pretty rough. 

 

Q: Tell us about your journey to college. Did you have to apply the normal way? How does it work? 

A: It’s actually pretty interesting. I started looking at places I wanted to go my freshman year. But freshman and sophomore years don’t really count. [During my junior year], I emailed coaches. That’s a lot of emailing. So I didn’t apply [traditionally] for schools or anything; it was just emailing, emailing, and then the [recruiters] typically come to watch you play at a lot of your tournaments. And if they like you, you’ll get to have a video call, which I got to have a few actually. I ended up having my video call with Randolph-Macon three months ago. After that call, they came to see me at a tournament. Right after that, [Randolph-Macon] invited me to their school for my official visit. There, I went to tour the school, meet the team, and watch the team play. I also got to play with them a little; it was really awesome! Two weeks later I got my offer. Randolph-Macon were like, “Hey, we would really like to offer you a spot in the roster.” And, of course, I said yes. 

 

Q: What other schools were you researching? 

A: I did have a spot on the UVA roster, but I didn’t get any scholarship money. But if I’m going D1, I would have preferred to get some sort of money. They weren’t going to offer me any money — just a spot on the roster. I was also looking at all three divisions: D1, D2, and D3. I got interest from all of them, the majority of them being D1 and D3, though. I was looking at William & Mary and Holy Cross. I was also looking at Radford for a little bit, but I kind of ruled that out pretty quickly, and Marymount was another big one.

 

Q: What was your favorite part throughout the entire process? 

A: I talked to a lot of other athletes and [when I told them about the recruitment process], they were like, “Oh, that’s so scary; it’s such a crazy process, and it must have been so stressful.” Ironically, it really was not. Once you get your first rejection email, it’s a breeze. And it’s okay because you’re emailing so many colleges that it really ends up not mattering. So I found the whole process super exciting. It was a very fun process for me because I knew I was gonna go play volleyball somewhere. I just didn’t know where.

 

Q: What do you hope to do five to 10 years in the future? 

A: I don’t want to play volleyball after college at all. I am going to school to get a business degree; I would love to take my entrepreneurship and open my own business and volleyball club. The owner of Loudoun Elite is Josie; she owns the club itself and she also owns Elite Wellness, which is a gym that we go to. She makes a lot of money and it’s something that she loves doing, and I would really love to be doing that. 

 

Q: Would you say that Josie was one of your inspirations? Do you have any other mentors? 

A: Besides my mother and my grandpa being my main inspirations, volleyball-wise and career-wise, Coach Josie has definitely been my rock. She’s helped me so much. I do think it’s because I’ve been with the club for so long. They’re very loyal to me, and I’m very loyal to them. They really just wanted to see me go and do what I love doing and they definitely helped me throughout my entire journey. 

 

Q: Are there any challenges you’ve faced with volleyball?

A: I think it’s a very tough game. Sports, in general, is always hard mentally, but it’s very difficult to kind of get yourself in the right headspace. I’m lucky enough that I learned early on to shake off whatever mistakes I was making, but a lot of other athletes aren’t. Getting over that rock is definitely something to be really proud of. I think more athletes need to try and do that because once you’re done being stressed and stop caring as much, you stop getting weighed down by that. You just have to go out there and play. 

 

Q: Do you have any words of advice for people who also want to pursue volleyball in the future?

A: Stick with it. It’s not a sport that you can just pick up and then come back to a few months, [or] a few years later. You have to keep going, especially if you want to get better. You have to put in the work. Always put in the work. I feel like a lot of girls — a lot of athletes ​​— feel like they can just pick up a sport and be fine with it, and that’s definitely not the case. Put in the work.

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About the Contributors
Aarohi Motwani
Aarohi Motwani, Editor In Chief
Aarohi Motwani is a senior and an Editor in Chief for The Blaze. This is her third year on staff, and she loves to take pictures and interview people in the student body. In her free time, she enjoys reading, listening to music on her roof, and watching movies with her friends.
Ananya Karthik
Ananya Karthik, Arts & Entertainment Editor
Ananya is a junior, and joined The Blaze staff  in her sophomore year. She is currently the Arts and Entertainment Editor, and she loves writing articles about events occurring in Rock Ridge. Her love of reading and writing, which began when she was little, only grew as she got older, and she quickly gained an interest in writing reviews. Now, she hopes to pursue a career or profession in journalism. In her free time, Ananya likes to watch TV shows, her favorite being Gilmore Girls, listen to Harry styles, and keep up with pop culture news on Instagram and Facebook.

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