For Aumann, Senior Day is the Icing on the Cake
Nov. 6, 2012
CHICAGO – One look at her genetic trail makes you realize Rachel Aumann was born to play sports.
Her grandfather Conrad “Connie” Aumann was a baseball player who got invited to a tryout by the Detroit Tigers before eventually coaching football, baseball and softball at Concordia College in west suburban River Grove.
Connie Aumann was also an athletic director at Concordia where a statue of the school mascot has been dedicated to him. Coming out of the locker room before each game, football players rub the cougar statue for good luck.
Rachel’s father Jim Aumann played baseball at Concordia and is an assistant basketball coach at Racine (Wis.) Lutheran High School. Her older sister Becky played volleyball at Concordia and was a student assistant volleyball coach.
Younger sister Rosie was named to the Junior College All-Regional team in volleyball as a freshman at Kishwaukee College in Malta, Ill. Rachel’s uncle Rich Rust played baseball and basketball at Viterbo University in La Crosse, Wis.
Youngest sister Sarah is first-team, all-conference in volleyball as a junior at Racine Lutheran.
Sister Sarah is also quite an accomplished vocalist and will sing the National Anthem at Sunday’s season finale for the DePaul volleyball team.
That’s also the day Aumann will be honored on Senior Day.
“It’s kind of strange that I am the only senior,” Aumann said as the Blue Demons prepared to face Rutgers. “I came in with two other players, but one transferred and the other had to stop playing because of medical reasons.
“This has been my favorite year. We’ve got a good team, and I’ve enjoyed seeing how much our program has improved since my freshman year. It’s been fun contributing to that.
“I’m hoping everyone in my family, including my grandmother, can make it to Senior Day.”
They will join DePaul volleyball coach Nadia Edwards and all the Blue Demons in celebrating the evolution of a small town kid from a high school of 220 students to a mature, confident Division I standout elected to the cabinet of DePaul’s Captains’ Council.
Aumann has grown right along with the volleyball program to the point where Edwards now refers to her as the team mom.
“She is a very valuable student-athlete to have because she gets it,” Edwards said. “After I finish talking, she further explains things to everyone. She is like the mother of this team.
“Rachel sets such a positive example for the younger players. She is able to speak when the time is right, and when it comes to fundamentals, she is a perfectionist with very detailed footwork.
“She has become a lot more aggressive this season. Playing like a senior, she has taken on the challenge of performing well in her final season.
“Rachel is finishing out her career on a strong note.”
The 6-foot, 1-inch middle blocker leads the team in blocks and is third in kills. She had a career-high 20 kills against Green Bay.
“It felt great,” Aumann said. “I had all the confidence in the world that day. I trusted my teammates to cover for me if I got blocked. I was swinging as hard as I could and finding the court, but I couldn’t have done it without my teammates.”
At Racine Lutheran the volleyball honorable mention all-stater set the school record in solo blocks, kills and points. Aumann also set the track and field school record in the triple jump and was all-conference in basketball three times.
“I don’t mind being the team mom,” Aumann said. “I like to make sure that things get done. I’m the last one to leave the gym after practice, and I’ll collect a water bottle, sweatshirt or binder that someone left behind.
“We like to match when we travel. I text everyone and let them know what outfit to wear and what things to pack. If someone needs an extra T-shirt or a bobby pin, it’s usually ‘where’s Rachel?’
“My teammates ask for advice, or maybe the underclassmen don’t know how to approach something. I’ll tell them to talk to their professor or go see Kate O’Brien (Athletics Academic Advising).”
More than a little of Dottie Aumann has rubbed off on her daughter. Both are perfectionists in their own way. The daughter knows that from watching her mom delve into her favorite pastime.
Dottie Aumann is thinking about opening a bakery or going into the baking industry. She currently takes orders from townsfolk for cupcakes, cakes and wedding cakes.
“People love her baking and especially rave about her frosting,” Rachel said. “They tell her all the time she should start her own business.
“When my youngest sister graduates high school in two years, I think mom will consider opening up a bakery or start making her baked goods as a business. I know my dad is all for it.
“Mom is very detailed when it comes to cakes. One little mistake and she has to fix it. I have some of that in me. I’m not one to yell and get in your face, but I will make sure things are done the way they need to be.”
Dottie Aumann has baked all kinds of cupcakes for Rachel and her teammates this season, experimenting on the willing taste-testers with new recipes.
There’s the cupcake with cookie dough in the middle topped with a brown sugar frosting. She makes a red velvet cheesecake cupcake with a cream cheese frosting. Another specialty is a chocolate cake with a peanut butter ball in the middle covered in peanut butter frosting.
What separates Dottie’s concoctions from others is the light touch to a frosting that smoothly gratifies the sweet tooth without tasting rich and filling.
“Mom started taking cake-decorating classes when she was pregnant with me,” Rachel said. “I’ve been exposed to her cupcakes my entire life.”
In addition to sampling cupcakes, Edwards has one more treat in mind. She gets one last chance to watch Aumann celebrate in her unique way.
“There’s nothing like when Rachel puts the ball down on a block or gets a good kill,” Edwards said. “Rachel is normally so quiet that it just suddenly comes out. It’s a different type of energy, and it gets the team all fired up.”