Redshirt freshman middle blocker Ty Laporte had a frustrating start to her college volleyball career. On the second day of practice last season, she tore her ACL and was forced to sit out the entire year and rehab her knee.
“It was really disappointing because I was already a rookie and really raw in volleyball,” she said. “It put me more behind, and spring was the time you learn everything and I was injured.”
She suffered her injury by going up for a block on the right side and landing on a teammate as she was came down.
Rehabbing an ACL can be tough for any athlete, but so far, Laporte has suffered no setbacks from the injury. Her drive and determination have resulted in a breakout freshman season at Ole Miss.
“I’ve been doing a lot rehab since last year till now,” Laporte said. “Just a lot of strengthening, bending, extending and just trying to make it strong enough, so when I do come down again, it won’t tear.”
Laporte has bounced back this season by starting in 18 of 25 matches and playing in 76 of 91 sets. She is currently third on the team, first for middle blockers, with 171 kills, behind junior outside hitter Kara Morgan’s 270 and senior outside hitter Allegra Wells’ 207.
“After a very frustrating freshman year for her, (she) has really worked hard and plays an important role as a redshirt freshman,” head coach Joe Getzin said. “Her explosiveness and her energy is very contagious on the team, and because of that all the middles have improved greatly. She’s setting the bar pretty high.”
Laporte said she started volleyball late compared to other girls who have been playing since they were younger.
“The high school I went to was not very big on volleyball, so I actually started club my junior year,” she said.
Her recruitment process was not like other girls who get recruited either.
“I got recruited pretty late. Most people know where they’re going sophomore year,” Laporte said. “My high school head coach actually knew coach Getzin. He came out and saw me, and he liked me. Then after he looked at me, a bunch of other schools started looking at me too.”
The Irmo, S.C., native is also a member of the Ole Miss women’s track and field team. In high school, Laporte lettered all four years and was a three-time state champion in the high jump. On the volleyball court, it is easy to see her high jumping ability when she jumps for a kill or a block.
She has tallied a kill or more in every game except two matches this season, when she did not see action. Laporte has also recorded double-digit kill performances in eight games this season for the Lady Rebels, including a season-high 20-kill match against Georgia last month.
“Hopefully, she continues to improve,” Getzin said. “She’s putting up great numbers as a (redshirt) freshman, which speaks volumes for her. As a player this year, we’ve had a full year of working with her now, we’ve really seen some great growth in her.”
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