Adams sparks No. 11 Volleyball with energy, emotion
Oct. 5, 2010
Natalie England, TexasSports.com
AUSTIN, Texas -- Rachael Adams speaks in a language her Texas Volleyball teammates lovingly understand. Even though her mind moves in swift zig-zags, and sometimes Adams is on to the next sentence without completing the first thought, the Longhorns can fill in the gaps.
“It’s Rachael,” senior Juliann Faucette says. “We get her.”
Adams has a quirky personality, and one that’s finally manifesting itself on the volleyball court. As UT’s middle blocker, she’s nothing short of the team’s workhorse. She patrols the net, intimidates opponents’ hitters and, particularly this year, serves as an offensive force for the No. 11 Longhorns.
Setter Hannah Allison and Adams have developed a smooth chemistry, and Adams takes advantage of those quick sets in the middle with her vertical leap and speed. Teammates and fans in Gregory Gym alike have become accustomed to Adams’ turnaround yell and celebration after an invigorating kill.
“I’m the person who is going to bring the energy and make plays that give our team the momentum to keep us focused,” Adams says. “My goal is to make plays and bring confidence to the team.”
So far, it’s working. Adams is second on the team in kills, but it’s her dynamic consistency that keeps things rolling. Her .401 hitting percentage is best on the team, and Adams is pretty lethal with the ball coming her way.
On 217 swings this season, Adams has 126 kills. Thus, almost 60 percent of her swings result in a point.
“Rachael is playing at a very high level right now. She’s very dominant,” head coach Jerritt Elliott says. “Her ability to find herself and make herself available is critical.”
Now as a junior, Adams has grown into the role of a middle blocker, which is one of the most difficult positions on the floor because of the speed and physicality of the game. Middle blockers have very quick transitions from set to set.
A knee injury threw her freshman season off track, but Adams was able to find her way last year as Ashley Engle and Destinee Hooker absorbed most opponents’ attention. She returned this year embracing the reality that her job would be more substantial.
Adams just earned the first Big 12 Player of the Week honor of her career after headlining the Longhorns’ efforts against Iowa State and Nebraska -- a pair of top-10 foes. She averaged 3.67 kills per-set and added a team-best 1.11 blocks per-set. Adams also led the Longhorns in points, kills and blocks in both matches.
“The team is looking to me. I have to stay consistent, keep confident and just do my thing. When I’m talking with my teammates, that’s when I’m at my best,” Adams says. “When things are clicking, that’s when it’s fun. You’re not thinking about hesitations. Everyone’s working together and scoring.”