OXFORD, Miss. – The last several months have been a whirlwind for the Ole Miss volleyball team. Getting to know new coaches and learning a new system are all part of the things that go along with a coaching change. After their first few months together, which included seven spring matches, head coach Steven McRoberts is pleased with where the team is at looking ahead to their European trip and fall camp.
“We accomplished a lot. It’s a new system for the team. I’ve been very pleased with how hard they’ve worked,” McRoberts said. “From a mental standpoint, all of them are trying to do what we’re asking them to do. Part of the process of change is that you don’t have a lot of success [to go on], so many of them had to fight through that mentally. Everybody at the end of the spring started to get on the same page, and we really saw that at our last tournament. We are heading in the right direction.”
A highlight of the spring, rising sophomore Aubrey Edie was selected to train and compete with the U.S. Collegiate National Team from June 22 to July 1 in Minneapolis. Edie was among 36 athletes selected from nearly 300 who tried out.
“Aubrey had a good spring, setting. We are very proud of her that she made the National Collegiate Team,” he said.
While the coaching staff is obviously still evaluating each position, McRoberts did note upcoming sophomore Melanie Crow will move from the right side to the left side. “She had some growing pains to start, but she has started to take ownership of that position and do some great things,” McRoberts said.
Another area McRoberts highlighted during the spring was the play of the middle blockers.
“All of our middles, Ty (Laporte), Nakeyta (Clair) and even Taylor (Townsend) coming in as an early enrollee, had a good spring,” McRoberts said. “In our last jump test, they all jumped 10 feet 4 ½ inches. That’s incredible. When we are ball-controlling and we have multiple options, we can be pretty good. A lot of our success in the fall is going to depend on how well we serve and pass and what kind of productivity we get out of our left side so as not to put overdue stress on our middles.”
The coaching staff will have plenty more opportunities to evaluate the players with an upcoming trip to Italy on the horizon. The team will depart May 25, landing in Prague, Czech Republic for their first stop and continuing on into Italy where they will face more competition.
“Fortunately for us, we get to come back here in about three weeks and practice twice a day to get ready for a great trip to Italy for more competition. Then we get to come back in August and add our freshman (Lexi Thompson) to the mix. It’s almost like we have three different seasons, before we actually start the regular season that we are getting to train and evaluate the team.”
Ole Miss will return four players who started almost every match last year in 2014, led by Edie, who averaged a team-high 9.21 assists per set, tops among freshmen in the SEC. Clair had the best blocking season in program history in the rally scoring era. She broke the single-season program record for block assists (105) and total blocks (130), and finished second in single-season program history for solo blocks (25).
Stay tuned for more Rebel volleyball news, including the release of the 2014 schedule as well as more information on the upcoming European trip.
UPDATE: Tuesday at 1:30 p.m.Here are more of Coach Freeze's interviews in Bristol. Scroll down to the earlier post to hear him on Ivan Maisel's podcast. Listen: Freeze on the Paul Finebaum Show Listen: Freeze on the Freddie Coleman Show... read more
All 14 Southeastern Conference football coaches will travel to ESPN's annual mid-summer football coaches "car wash" - in which guests appear across multiple programs and platforms over one day - at ESPN's Bristol, Conn., headquarters on Monday and Tuesday. Ole... read more
Ole Miss took its turn at the annual SEC Media Days on Thursday. Joining head coach Hugh Freeze was senior quarterback Bo Wallace, junior defensive end C.J. Johnson and senior safety Cody Prewitt. Here are a few related SEC Media... read more
Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze said on day one that his expectations were to make the program relevant in the Southeastern Conference Western Division. With a full allotment of 85 scholarship players and more depth of both sides of... read more
Once overshadowed, Wallace now finds himself more firmly in the spotlight after the departure of seven of the league's eight top passers. The dean of SEC quarterbacks, Wallace is the league's leading returner in total offense, passing yards and passing... read more
Before taking his turn at the podium in the main room at SEC Media Days on Thursday, head coach Hugh Freeze met with members of the Ole Miss local media and addressed a wide variety of topics. Here are some... read more
Ole Miss will take its turn at SEC Media Days on Thursday. Here are a few links to stories of interest for Ole Miss fans from Day Three of SEC Media Days, which featured Steve Shaw (SEC), Justin Connolly (ESPN),... read more
Ole Miss will take its turn at SEC Media Days on Thursday. Here are a few links to stories of interest for Ole Miss fans from Day Two of SEC Media Days, which featured South Carolina, Mississippi State, Texas A&M... read more
NFL.com CFB 24/7 has counted down the 14 college football players to watch -- and some other college football topics -- in varying categories in 2014. Below are the highlights for Ole Miss and the link to the complete 14... read more
Ole Miss will take its turn at SEC Media Days on Thursday. Here are a few links to stories of interest for Ole Miss fans from Day 1 of SEC Media Days, which featured SEC commissioner Mike Slive, Auburn, Florida... read more
Former Ole Miss player Zack Cozart, now a member of the Cincinnati Reds, was named the best defensive shortstop in baseball for the first half of the 2014 season. ESPN Insider Scott Spratt selected one player from either league at... read more
The Season: Ole Miss Baseball: Omaha Bound from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo. Chapter 1: Regionals from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo. Chapter 2: Super Regionals from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo. Chapter 3: CWS Games 1 & 2... read more
Three student-athletes and the head coach of each of the 14 Southeastern Conference football programs will participate in SEC Football Media Days, July 14-17, at the Hyatt Regency Birmingham - The Wynfrey Hotel in Hoover, Ala.Ole Miss will take its... read more
Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy talks about the addition of assistant coach Tony Madlock and the new-look roster for the upcoming season, among other topics, on the SEC Summer Men's Basketball Coaches Media Teleconference Monday. Here are the highlights:Ole... read more