Being a student-athlete requires hours of work each day. Double majoring at Rice is hardly easy either. McKay Kyle does both. And in just two years at Rice, the junior volleyball player and economics and sport management double major has already appeared on the Conference USA All-Freshman Team, the C-USA All-Tournament Team and the C-USA Commissioner’s Honor Roll. To Kyle, though, she’s not doing anything too special.
“All of my teammates are really good students too,” Kyle said. “You see them setting that example. We always have a really good GPA as a team, so there’s a high expectation there.”
A typical day, according to Kyle, consists of weightlifting at 6 a.m., classes, practice and finally night classes. Kyle said balancing commitments isn’t always easy.
“It’s a lot of time management,” Kyle said. “It’s just about finding time here and there. I have to make sure to study schoolwork and scouting reports. It takes a lot of studying on the road.”
Between school and volleyball, Kyle and her teammates have little free time during the season. This weekend, they played two matches on Friday and another on Saturday after a full week of practices. Naturally, they used their free time to spend even more time together.
“We like doing fun things as a team,” Kyle said. “Tonight, we’re going bowling. Whenever we have that off day we use it to rest, but also we’ll have fun together. We can’t get enough of each other.”
Kyle said the connection between her and her teammates off the court has helped them succeed during matches.
“We gel really well,” Kyle said. “It’s always been that way since my freshman year. That [chemistry] helps us on the court.”
Amid the team’s success, Kyle has stood out. She committed to Rice after her sophomore year of high school in San Antonio because she wanted the opportunity to play at a high level and earn a degree that would help her after graduation.
In her first year, Kyle earned conference freshman of the week honors in just her third week of play. She had a match with 18 kills and another with seven blocks. Kyle credited her teammates and coaches for helping her achieve immediate success.
“I came in ready to fight,” Kyle said. “The team welcomed me. They gave me the opportunities I needed to prove myself right off the bat.”
In her sophomore year, Kyle picked up where she left off. She finished sixth in the conference in hitting percentage at .355 but truly made her mark in the conference tournament. She recorded 15 kills in the semifinals and another 15 in the championship game loss to Western Kentucky. Kyle earned a spot on the All-Tournament Team for her performance. She believes the team has a chance to perform even better this year.
“I think we have such high potential,” Kyle said. “We have so much more room to grow. Once we get into conference [play] we’ll be ready.”
Kyle and her teammates will play again this weekend in the second Rice Adidas Invitational. The Owls will take on Arkansas State University, Georgetown University and Stephen F. Austin State University looking to improve on their 6-4 record.