Athlete of the Week: Rylie Vaughn, Newman Catholic - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Athlete of the Week: Rylie Vaughn, Newman Catholic

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WAUSAU (WAOW) -- When you're on a team with volleyball superstar Mariah Whalen, it's easy to be overshadowed.

But every Batman has a Robin, and this season Newman Catholic's Rylie Vaughn has played so well, she's on the verge of Batman status.

"She's always working really hard," Cardinals coach Betty Lange said. "She told me she had five days off this summer that she didn't have volleyball."

Making the transition from Newman's primary defender to their secondary hitter opposite Whalen, Vaughn has excelled and established herself as one of the premiere players in the Marawood South.

She's among the conference's leaders in kills, assists and digs - and versatility is exactly what a dominant team like Newman needs.

"I haven't hit much with club or anything, so being a leader on the team with swinging but it's been a lot of fun," she said. "I think it's been pretty decently successful for me, so that's fun to see that I can do that."

Newman is in search of its fourth straight Division 4 state championship, and there's no denying that Whalen, a Wisconsin-commit, has been the key cog in the Cardinals historic run.

But Vaughn - a junior - has played so well that the Cardinals expect her to fill Whalen's shoes once she graduates.

"I don't think anyone can really take Mariah's spot, she's pretty great," Vaughn said with a smile. "But that's the goal is to next year be able to lead the team and have some confidence going into next season.

"Just because Mariah leaves doesn't mean we have to stop winning," she added.

Newman is unbeaten this season. Volleyball regionals begin on October 20.

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