As the Atlantic 10 tournament approached, VCU’s volleyball team looked to build on its 6-2 record in the final month of the season. The Rams faced No. 4 seed George Washington University in the tournament’s first round on Nov. 20.
Throughout the season, the Rams have relied heavily on defense to keep plays alive to give their hitter a chance to make great kills. The backcourt defense starts with sophomore libero Rebekah Strange.
Strange took the role of leader of the backcourt early in the season and hasn’t looked backed since. While she doesn’t register many kills, the way she plays defense is just as exciting to watch.
“I feel like my attitude and my energy helps encourage the team to do better and wants to win,” Strange said. “I feel like my energy and communication on the backcourt helps to push them to win the game.”
Strange found her competitive spirit, her will for her team to win has allowed her to have several games where she had game highs in digs. She also hopes that her competitive attitude and play helps inspire her teammates to play their best.
“I am a very competitive player,” Strange said. “I like to win, like most athletes do, but I have a very tough attitude. When I go in to play, its like, ‘oh, I am going to get this point,’ or next point is mine, and I work hard every point to make sure that we get that next point.”
Her personal goal for the tournament is simple:
I want to be a leader on the court for my teammates, and push them to do their best and hopefully we can get to the next step of the tournament after Friday and just keep going from there,” Strange said.
“Just work as a team. I just want for the team to do well.”
Strange finds motivation through her teammates excitement after a big kill or block.
“It’s just so exciting to see different expressions on different people’s faces and smiles everywhere,” Strange said. “It makes me happy and it makes me want to work hard for the championship.”
The Rams, who were ranked No. 4, traveled to Washington, D.C. on Friday to begin their quest in the A-10 Tournament. The Rams battled hard, but fell in three straight sets to GWU, (25-16), (25-16) and (25-16).
Freshman outside hitter Sahbria McLetchie finished the night with a team-high 12 kills and Strange added a game-high 15 digs, but the Rams could not overcome hard hitting from the Colonials. Junior middle blocker Chidima Osuchukwu ended the Rams night with a game-high 16 kills.
While the Rams may have lost in the first round, they will have plenty of youth returning next season. The Rams finished the season with an overall record of 14-17.
Article by: Erika Robinson, Contributing Writer