by Sydney Rhodes
The University of Tampa women’s volleyball team continues their conference season within the Sunshine State Conference (SSC) in the next week, as the women currently hold a 13-4 match score in the SSC. Their record has ranked them as the second team within the SCC, as they sit behind Lynn University: 14-2.
Overall, Tampal holds a record of 20-8 this season. In addition to carrying a 14 game winning streak throughout the entire month of October and first week of November.
“We are a completely different team then we were at the beginning of the season,” said Sorrel Houghton, junior outside hitter. “We were on a winning streak and in a great position to make it into regionals so we are all proud of where we have come thus far. The streak was a huge confidence boost and we were able to work on the little things as a team while picking up some wins.”
Most recently, the women ended their winning streak after taking a fall to Lynn University, the No. 1 team in the SSC. On Friday, Nov. 8, Tampa lost in a 3-1 match series against Lynn. The following day, Saturday, Nov. 9, Tampa lost in another 3-1 series against Nova Southeastern University.
“We learned in the beginning of the year that it was more important to focus on the present moment and take each game one by one,” said Mackenzie Dufresne, freshman middle blocker. “Most importantly, we work together and build our team chemistry everyday which I think is going to be a big factor in winning some of our more close matches because we all have this same drive of never wanting to quit.”
The women have also been awarded with five SSC Player of the Week honors thus far including, four SSC Offensive Player of the Week titles for Katie McKiel, junior outside hitter and one SSC Setter of the Week title for Sammy Mueller, senior setter.
“The team dynamic is always different each and every season but I think our players really enjoy competing together,” said Brian Imperiale, assistant volleyball coach. “As a coach, I know I enjoy walking into practice everyday knowing we have a great group of kids that want to play for one another.”
Up next, Tampa will face Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University on Friday, Nov. 15 and Florida Tech on Saturday, Nov. 15, both games being at home. The following week, the women will close out their conference season, playing Rollins College on Saturday, Nov. 23 in Winter Park, Florida, in the hope of continuing to the NCAA Division II South Regional tournament.
“We aren’t very focused on the end result right now. We take every game one by one and hope that the outcome is what we want so that we will be in a position to make it to post season,” said Houghton. “We will focus on regionals and nationals when we get there and be confident that all of our hard work will pay off.”
Sydney Rhodes can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org