Oct. 18, 2011
Competition Brings Out the Best in Us by Roxy Mendez
Our visit to the Lone Star State this past weekend was a reminder of how competitive the Owls and Cougars can be at their own turf. Perhaps there is a connection with the nicknames Texas has as "The Beef State" and "The Blizzard State". I love when we play tough teams that have a competitive edge. It really brings the best of us as individuals and team players looking for the ultimate goal of winning. When we arrived at Rice, I could sense the urge we had to start the match right away. We were totally energized and couldn't wait to hit the ball. I don't think the Owls knew how confident and relaxed we felt as the points kept racking up on our side. Our errors were minimal and the consistency in our defense was impressive. I think the best analogy would be if we had an opportunity to play them again on the same weekend we would not think of it twice. It felt great to have a win against a quick and fearless team.
As we rested and had a little bit of Halloween fun at a Texas haunted house, we knew our next game against Houston was going to be just as tough, and maybe a bit more challenging than the day before at Rice. We jumped on top early in the match and won the first set. We were really synchronized and found ways to hit open spots. The second set we felt short and our opponents made adjustments that allowed them to control the rest of the match. I felt like we ran out of the energy needed to catapult us in finishing critical close sets. I have to give Houston a lot of credit for keeping us in defensive mode the last two sets; their offensive power took off and never looked back.
To summarize, this past weekend of 1-1 on the road, I can honestly say that it is only through tough competition that we can find out how best to play for a top spot in our conference. Pushing back competition would deprive us of the learning necessary for a breakout performance. In volleyball, competition enables us to discover which team is better than others.