With Ole Miss head volleyball coach Joe Getzin out of town recruiting, assistant coach Shannon Wells spoke with the media Monday afternoon. Here is what she had to say:
“We had a great weekend. We won the Magnolia Invitational for the sixth straight year. It was pretty exciting.
“We played Alabama A&M on Friday morning. We were able to out physical them and we swept them. Then we came in that night game against Rice. They’re a really tough team. They actually took Purdue, who was ranked in the top 10, (to five sets). It was a team that we were really nervous about. They have great middles. We’ve been really stressing that our seniors need to step up a little bit. We have five of them. We’re really trying to rely on their energy and experience. I’m proud to report that they’ve continued to do that all week and we were able to sweep Rice that night.
“Probably one of the biggest things that stood out was our setter had a triple-double. That’s assists, digs and kills. It’s the fifth one of her career. It’s pretty impressive from a 5’10’’ setter. She had a great match and really led our team, as well as our redshirt freshman Ty Laporte. She’s a 5’10’’ middle who’s extremely fast and dynamic. She tore her ACL last year and kind of had her coming out party this weekend.
“We came back Saturday and played North Dakota. They’re a big team who has really been able to serve aggressive and block a lot of balls. Our team really stepped up and we ended up taking care of them in four sets.
“We challenged our middles this weekend to step up. We thought we could expose the other teams’ weaknesses with blocking. They were challenging us to hit and block one-on-one. We have one junior and three freshmen in that class. We saw a lot of our freshmen stepping up. We finished the weekend with Amanda Philpot becoming tournament MVP. Allegra Wells and Kara Morgan made the All-Tournament team.
“Going into this week, we’re on the road. We open up SEC weekend with Texas A&M and Missouri on the road. We’re the first ones to get a hold of them. We’re really excited. Texas A&M comes in at 8-1. We’re predicting they’re going to have about 3,000 people in the stands. They do a great job of getting a lot of fans there. We’ve heard about how rowdy it can get from a lot of Texas people. They have a great middle and a great right side. It’s definitely a big challenge for our team. On Sunday, we play Missouri and they’re another great team. They’re 8-2 so far this year. They’ve taken care of business. It should be fun and exciting. We’re going to depend on our seniors again playing on the road. It’s something new and we have new SEC opponents. As we’ve said all year, we’re going to go as far as they will let us. So far they’ve been stepping up.”
On Amanda Philpot…
“She’s been playing that way all year. She really stepped up at the end of last year. She just has this different personality about her right now. She’s really ready to take this team to the next level. She’s made teams change their defense and their blocking systems. We get a lot of coaches talking to us about how her offense creates confusion for their defense. It opens up our hitters, middles and pins. I think she’s becoming more and more of a mature player. She’s starting to realize how good she really is. She was voted a captain by our players. She was the only one that was a unanimous choice. They love her on and off the court. We’re really proud of who she’s become. She’s always been that tenacious, aggressive player. She’s starting to get that confidence and show it on the court.”