Last week, the Rice University volleyball team won three consecutive matches against conference opponents. On Wednesday, the Owls faced off against the University of North Texas, winning 3-1. The Owls then bested the University of Texas, El Paso and the University of North Carolina, Charlotte at home on Friday and Sunday, respectively.
Senior middle blocker Jillian Humphrey was named the conference player of the week, and sophomore setter Sara Blasier, the fourth-leading assist creator in the country, was named setter of the week.
According to Head Coach Genny Volpe, the team had a strong week of play. Volpe said the game against UNT was an especially impressive performance for the team.
“We had a solid week in general as a team, especially with a tough win at [UNT],” Volpe said. “It was a really different environment with a very small gym and [a] loud crowd. [UNT] jumped out really fast on us and shook us up quite a bit, so the fact that we could come back and win the match was very impressive to me.”
Volpe said she was impressed with the players’ ability to focus with the added strain of travel. According to Volpe, the team benefits from the familiarity of Tudor Fieldhouse and the support from fans.
“We have been on the road quite a bit this season, and I was so impressed with how the team maintained their composure and focus while trying to keep up with their studies,” Volpe said. “We do play well on the road, but the comfort of home and the fan support is huge.”
Volpe said she is confident in her team’s ability to best any competitor. According to Volpe, the team’s biggest hurdle is bringing its talents together cohesively and successfully.
“We believe that we can beat anybody,” Volpe said. “At first, I think the team understood we have the talent but weren’t quite sure they could put it together day in and day out. We have been in some tough situations and fought out of them, so we have gained confidence through that.”
This week, the Owls will face off against Middle Tennessee State University, University of Texas, El Paso and the University of Texas, San Antonio.
According to Volpe, the team is ready for the challenges they will face on the road this week.
“This team has a strong desire to win and to be the best,” Volpe said. “This three-match road swing will have its challenges, but we will be ready and prepared.”