Junior Ema Djordjevic sets the ball for a Rocket teammate in the state semifinals.
Junior Ema Djordjevic sets the ball for a Rocket teammate in the state semifinals.
Photo courtesy of Zoe Tahardi

Athlete of the Year: Djordjevic leads volleyball to historic season

Junior Ema Djordjevic left her mark this season: A state championship, multiple broken records, and being named Montgomery County Player of the Year. The 2024 RM Girls Volleyball team was full of talent, hard work and motivation, making a historic playoff run to win their first-ever state championship. This could not have been done without the contributions of Djordjevic. Djordjevic was one of the team’s captains, leading them to a very successful season. Throughout the season, Ema broke records and reached new milestones, such as 500 career kills and 500 career assists. Her success this season did not go unnoticed, as she was named Montgomery County Girls Volleyball Player of the Year and selected as First Team All-Met by the Washington Post. 

Djordjevic has been playing volleyball her whole life, and her years of experience are what has made her so successful. She was very consistent throughout the season, delivering amazing performances game after game. Despite a long season spanning from August to late November, Djordevic was reliable on the court through every set. “She’s the most seasoned and reliable figure on our team and that is very prevalent on the court,” junior co-captain Corinne Howard said.  Playing over 80 sets this season, Djordjevic had 250 kills, 341 assists and 146 digs. She averaged 10 kills per game and had a .321 hit percentage. In the state championship, when it mattered most, she stepped up with five kills, 17 assists, eight digs, four aces, and a block to help her team capture the win against Leonardtown 3-1.

Junior Ema Djordjevic prepares to serve Leonardtown in the state championship game. (Courtesy of Patrick Agustin)

In addition to being very talented at volleyball, Djordjevic is also a supportive and uplifting teammate on and off the court. “Off the court, she built positive relationships and chemistry on the team which helped improve our performance as a team during games,” junior Carly Nunez said. One of four captains this year, Ema stepped up into the leadership role. “She was always the humble voice of reason that balanced us out. Her leadership on the court is absolutely unmatched as she never fails to lead by example,” Howard said. After two years on varsity previously, this season Djordjevic helped the team finally click and put the pieces together to have the most successful year yet. One thing special about this season was having her younger sister on the court with her. “She has motivated me to be the ultimate teammate because she cares about team growth and success, not just her individual growth,” freshman Ana Djordjevic said. Djordjevic’s teammates describe her as brilliant, motivated, goal-oriented, and passionate, all qualities of a talented player and excellent teammate.

Graphic by Ari Fine

With her senior year approaching, the expectations are higher than ever for the 2024-2025 season. The team has many returning players due to only a few seniors last year. Djordjevic is ranked high among volleyball players, with Prep Digs ranking her fifth out of all of juniors in the state of Virginia. Her club team is also listed as one of the top in the country for her age group by USA Volleyball. Last year, the RM team ended the season ranked ninth in Maryland and fifth in the Washington Post standings. Looking ahead to next season, RM girls volleyball has its eye on the prize -becoming back-to-back state champions- and Djordjevic will be a huge part of this effort. 

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