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Editor’s note: The Thresher spoke to members of the Rice football team who played under Mike Bloomgren from his first season at Rice in 2018 through the most recent season in 2021. Players were given the option of remaining anonymous by the Thresher in the interest of preventing retaliation. Anonymous players were given false names, which have been marked with an asterisk on first reference.
Rice baseball lost their first home series of the season last weekend, with Lamar University coming into town and taking the first two games of the series, before the Owls avoided the sweep on Sunday afternoon to claim their first home victory of 2022. Their record now sits at 2-5 on the season.
It is hard to overstate the importance of good coaching in baseball. As Yogi Berra liked to say, “90 percent of the game is half mental,” and while no one quite knows what that means, it comes down to baseball being some combination of preparedness and confidence, not to mention the physical act of going out and performing. A good coach can go a long way toward preparing a team and making it believe in itself, and despite the fact that they have yet to play a game, it feels safe to say that Rice baseball under the command of Jose Cruz Jr. is in a much better position to succeed than it was at any point over the past three seasons.
Rice is one of 16 universities alleged to have broken federal antitrust laws by violating the terms of an exemption which allowed universities to use a shared method of calculating applicants’ financial needs. The plaintiffs allege that this shared method resulted in price-fixing and unfairly limited aid to students, according to a lawsuit filed Sunday.
Rice volleyball will face the University of San Diego tomorrow in the first round of the women’s volleyball NCAA tournament. This is the fourth consecutive season in which the Owls will be selected, after they received an at-large bid on Sunday night. Rice returns to the tournament after being forced to exit prior to their first match last year due to COVID-19 protocols.
Sophomore Grace Forbes defended her Conference USA cross country championship title last Saturday, securing her second conference title in as many years en route to a third place finish for the women’s cross country team.
On Saturday, the University of Texas, San Antonio gashed the Rice defense to the tune of 45 points in three quarters. While the defense had already allowed 58 points to the University of Texas, Austin, and 44 points to the University of Houston, there was something particularly disconcerting about giving up 45 points to a conference opponent, although the offense throwing two interceptions returned for touchdowns certainly didn’t help. The game marked the culmination of a fall from grace for a defense that ranked No. 12 in the country last year, allowing 18.8 points per game. So far this season, the Owl’s defense is giving up 39.67 points per game, good for No. 126 in the country out of 130 teams.
Edward Djerejian, founding director of the Baker Institute for Public Policy, announced last week that he will step down at the end of June 2022. The first and only person to hold the position, Djerejian will have been at the helm of the Baker Institute for 28 years when he retires in April.
Rice soccer split their two games last week, getting the best of crosstown rival University of Houston 1-0 on Thursday before dropping their first match of the year to Southern Methodist University by the same score.
Owl pitchers had a rough go of it this weekend, as Rice baseball lost four straight games to Louisiana Tech University by a combined total of 29 runs. Ranked No. 16 nationally heading into the weekend, the Bulldogs got to Rice’s pitching staff for 6 runs on Friday night, 7 and 20 runs, respectively, in the two games on Saturday. With the Owls losing the final game of the weekend 13-4 on Sunday afternoon, their conference record dropped to 2-9-1 on the season.
The Rice women’s basketball team, in an impressive showing, cruised to their program’s first WNIT Championship this past weekend. Despite their imminent victory, the question on my mind as the final seconds of the championship game against the University of Mississippi ticked off the clock was less than celebratory: Should the Owls have even been in the tournament in the first place?
Rice volleyball knocked off No. 2 University of Texas on Tuesday night, closing out their regular season with a shocking upset. The win handed Texas their first loss of the season, and capped off an impressive regular season for the 14-4 Owls, who have now won 13 of their last 14 matches. After the match, head coach Genny Volpe said that she was thrilled with the improbable win.
Following a disappointing loss to Middle Tennessee State University in the Conference USA championship game and not being selected for the NCAA March Madness tournament, Rice women’s basketball now faces the age-old question: Where do they go from here?
After barely escaping last night with a win, Rice women’s basketball fell to Middle Tennessee State University in the final seconds of yesterday’s Conference USA tournament championship game. The Owls managed to bring it to within one point during the final minute but ultimately lost the contest 68-65. Head coach Tina Langley congratulated the Blue Raiders program after the game.
The women’s basketball team held off Old Dominion University on Friday night to advance to the finals of the Conference USA tournament. Rice held the lead all game, but a late Monarchs comeback tested the Owls, who held on to win by a score of 62-60. According to head coach Tina Langley, the Owls proved their character with such a gritty win in the final seconds.
Women’s basketball wrapped up their regular season schedule last weekend with a series against the University of North Texas. The Owls started the weekend on the right note, winning the Thursday night game 64-58 to clinch the Conference USA West Division title. The Owls fell to the Mean Green on Saturday afternoon, bringing their record on the season to 16-3. Despite this loss, they still enter the tournament as the No. 1 overall seed.
Rice baseball lost all three games played against the University of Louisiana this past weekend. After opening the season 2-1 in their series against Houston Baptist University, the Owls traveled to Lafayette, where they were promptly swept by the Rajun’ Cajuns. The Owls fell 7-3 in the Friday night game, and followed that up with 5-3 and 6-3 losses over the weekend, dropping their overall record to 2-4. Head coach Matt Bragga took a somber tone in describing the weekend, pointing to the lack of offensive production as a big reason for his team’s struggles.
The Rice men’s track and field team placed No. 4 overall at the Conference USA Indoor Championships this past weekend. Relying in large part on the “field” half of their name, the Owls owned the medal stand in the pole vault and took home the gold in the weight throw, giving Rice 88 points for the weekend. The Owls were just two points shy of the University of Texas, San Antonio, who placed third.
The Rice baseball team’s 2020 season lasted just over three weeks before the start of the pandemic brought it to a halt, but that was enough time to raise some questions about the team’s direction going forward. In 16 games, as opposed to their originally scheduled 55, the Owls managed just two wins and 14 losses. For a program that is just three years removed from a streak of 26 consecutive winning seasons under former head coach Wayne Graham, last season’s results were alarming.
After a disappointing and shortened 2020 campaign, the Rice baseball team is hoping its plethora of veteran talent can inspire and lead the team in a new direction in 2021. Their season begins on Friday against the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. According to junior shortstop Hal Hughes, the depth of this Owls roster will be vital to their success.