The Mustang volleyball team prepares to host its final regular season games this weekend against Houston and Rice. Friday night’s game versus Houston will be nationally televised on CSTV. Senior Day is Sunday when the Mustangs take on Rice.
SMU has a 14-14 overall record and is 5-9 in conference match-ups. The Mustangs faced both Houston and Rice earlier this season, defeating the Cougars 3-2, but losing to the Owls 1-3. At home, SMU has a 7-6 record.
Mustang Rachel Giubilato is currently ranked 19th nationally in kills, averaging 4.75 per game, and is poised to get her 18th double-double of the season. Giubilato recently knocked her way into the elite 300-kill club, just one of the eleven places she occupies in the SMU record books.
Not far behind Giubilato is teammate and fellow outside hitter Caitlin Rainbird. The junior co-captain averages 3.56 kills per game and has posted 15 double-doubles so far this season.
On the defensive end, the Mustangs have blockers Natalie Peters and Kendra Kahanek. Peters makes 1.06 blocks per game on average and has combined with Kahanek for 192 blocks this season. Kahanek averages 0.93 blocks per game and 2.27 kills per game, in addition to the best attack percentage on the team. Freshman libero Candace Davis ranks fifth in the conference with 439 digs. Davis earned C-USA Defensive Player of the Week honors twice during the regular season.
Even with ranked players and numerous record-breaking performances, the Mustangs have struggled this season. The team is hoping for a large crowd of SMU fans to fill Moody Coliseum this weekend to cheer them on to victory.
From Houston, the Mustangs can expect both offensive and defensive play from Justine Farmer. The sophomore averages 4.77 kills and 3.83 digs per game. Blockers Becca Sartori and Erin Rice will challenge the Mustang offense. The duo averages 0.81 and 1.21 blocks per game, respectively. Houston is 17-12 for the season and 8-6 in C-USA competition.
The Mustangs have a score to settle with Rice on Sunday. The Owls took the victory in the last meeting, but SMU is looking to step it up this weekend. Rice is 12-5 overall and 5-8 in conference play. Sophomore Karyn Morgan leads the Owls with 3.66 kills and 1.10 blocks per game while freshman Natalie Bogan has 23 aces so far this season.
This is the volleyball team’s final weekend at home before postseason play begins. Houston will host the C-USA tournament Nov. 16-19.
SMU takes on Houston at 7 p.m. Friday and matches up against Rice Sunday at 1 p.m. in Moody Coliseum.