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Friday, September 29, 2023


Freshman off to fast start

Freshman Tara Roenicke may be in her first year of competing at the collegiate level, but she is quickly establishing herself as a valuable member of the UH volleyball team. She leads the team in assists and is third in digs, growing more comfortable in her role with each game.’

Roenicke hails from Alta Loma, Calif., and while a small town may sound like a boring place to live for many Houstonians, it was perfect for her.’

‘I loved it,’ Roenicke said. ‘I loved the weather. I loved the location because I was about an hour away from the beach and 15 minutes from the mountains, so I could go to the snow or go to the beach.’

Fortunately for Tara, her passion for the beach led her to beach volleyball.

‘I loved the beach for the most part,’ Roenicke said. ‘I just played (volleyball) all the time. My sister played it, so that’s how I got into it. And I was always down at the beach.’

That close proximity to the beach would serve Roenicke well, leading to a unique opportunity.’

‘I played on the USA Junior National Beach Team, and that was fun,’ Roenicke said. ‘It was a great experience. We got to go to Poland, Australia, Italy and the Netherlands.’

Roenicke’s passion for beach volleyball was a major reason behind her choice to attend UH.

‘I was looking around at a lot of schools. I heard a lot about (schools in) Texas,’ Roenicke said. ‘(UH) would allow me to play beach volleyball, and a lot of other schools wouldn’t. The girls are really nice and I love the coaches.’

Even though Roenicke has been here only a few weeks, she’s enjoyed her experience.

‘I love it,’ Roenicke said. ‘The people here are really nice. I like the environment.’

While Roenicke has enjoyed the experience, being so far from home and family has been challenging.’

‘It’s definitely been not necessarily hard, but different being away from my family,’ Roenicke said. ‘They’ve come to every single game and everything, and my mom was with me all the time, so it was definitely different.”

Some may be surprised that Roenicke chose a volleyball-based path, considering her family’s history with another sport.

‘My family is a real baseball family. My uncle has a real baseball family,’ Roenicke said. ‘Both my uncles played major league baseball, and my cousins are playing it now. So I just went to baseball games (growing up).’

Roenicke’s active childhood has taught her to make quick decisions and take things as they happen. Now she hopes to apply that to her volleyball experience at UH, as well as other aspects of her new life.

‘I also really like the business school here,’ Roenicke said. ‘Their entrepreneurship (programe) is No. 1, and that was another reason why I came here. I’m majoring in business and entrepreneurship. So maybe one day I’ll own a business, perhaps something related to sports.’

But for now she is focused on the business of volleyball, and that’s booming.

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