St. Laurence

Rios is a 5’2” junior libero on the St. Laurence volleyball team. She is heading into her third season on the Vikings varsity squad. Helping the team to a 21-14 record in 2019, Rios was a huge defensive presence, piling up 329 digs and 36 service aces. She is a Lemont resident and a St. Alphonsus-St. Patrick Catholic School graduate. Rios plays club volleyball for Ultimate.

What are your thoughts on the fall season?

“For me and my teammates, not much has been said. We’ve been told we might not have a season. We’re not sure right now, so we’ll keep working and push through it [until an announcement is made]. It would mean a lot to have the season. Volleyball is all I do. I’d do anything to be able to play.”

What was it like practicing in facemasks last week?

“It was different. We had been doing a couple weeks of conditioning outside before that. With the masks, it’s just getting used to it. It’s a little sweaty, so it’s tough. It’s OK, though.”

St. Laurence does not have a girls Class of 2021. Any pressure to step up as a junior with a young team?

“You try to keep everyone positive and stay confident. As an athlete, you’ve got to stay positive. You can’t get down on yourself if you make a mistake. You need to keep things up and communicate.”

What do you think of this year’s team?

“We have a lot of good talent. Not having seniors, it helps us. It forces us to teach and push through things more. We’re going to be a strong team. [Coach Ellen Yopchick] expects a lot from us. Since we started the program, this could be the strongest team we’ve had talent-wise.”

How did you keep busy during quarantine?

“I watched Netflix a lot, watched “Outer Banks” and “All American.” I got bored just watching TV, though. I tried to stay in shape and played volleyball with my brothers. They helped me with drills outside. My mom made them help.

Who’s the most competitive Rios sibling? Ashley played softball at Marist and Anthony (Lewis University) and Justin (North Central College) played baseball at St. Laurence.

“Both of my brothers are really competitive. I guess we all are, though, so it’s pretty equal. Playing volleyball, they would go pretty hard on me, playing pepper, full-on hits, rapid fire.”

Do you have an all-time favorite defensive play?

“We were practicing against the boys volleyball team. They would come in and help. [6’4” middle blocker Pete Stock] hit one at me that I was able to dig out. I was impressed. He’s pretty tall.”

What’s the key to being a good defensive player?

“It’s moving your feet to the ball and taking control in the back row. You have to always be talking.”

What’s your favorite restaurant?

“I’d pick Hooters. I love their wings and mozzarella sticks.”

Favorite pizza?

“Lou Malnati’s. I like their thin crust. The deep dish isn’t bad, but I prefer the thin crust, cheese and sausage pizza.”

Who’s your funniest teammate?

“They’re all funny. Mady Zale, Megan Roche, they’re always got good stories and good jokes.”

What’s the best holiday?

“Christmas, it’s a great chance to spend time with my family. My dad always says ‘Family comes first.’ It’s a good chance to get closer with my family. My favorite present is probably just clothes.”

What type of music do you like to listen to?

“I like country. I like Thomas Rhett and Luke Bryan.”

Where’s the coolest place you’ve ever been?

“Last Christmas the family went to Aruba. It was the only time we were all free with baseball, softball and volleyball, so we went over Christmas break. It was the first time I’d been out of the country. All the activities were my favorite, going off-road on ATVs and snorkeling.”

Who is your celebrity prom date?

“Shawn Mendes.”

Are you a big social media person?

“Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok, Snapchat is my favorite. I’m always on it. It’s a good way to stay connected with friends.”

If you could have a superpower, what would it be?

“To be invisible, it would be fun. If I didn’t want to be somewhere, I could go invisible, and I can leave.”