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Praise for Rachel Rourke

Posted by devo on January 28, 2009

Few NCAA volleyball stars shine brighter than Oregon State junior outside hitter Rachel Rourke, who was recently named to the 2008 American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) All-Pacific Region Team.

Rourke delighted teammates, fans and the AVCA, as she was a consistent scorer on the courts this year. Averaging 4.44 kills per set throughout the season (4.84 Pac-10), she earned her spot on the All-Pac-10 First Team, and became the first volleyball player in school history to earn honorable mention status. “It’s a great honor,” Rourke said. “But I couldn’t do it without the team, so it’s a great honor for all of us.”

Born in Queensland, Australia, Rourke has considerable international experience, as she has played for the Australian National Team at both youth and high school levels. She eventually found her way to Oregon State University, where she quickly became one of the most honored volleyball athletes of all time. “Coming to OSU was probably one of the better decisions I’ve ever made,” Rourke said. “I love playing volleyball and practicing with the coaches, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”

In 2006, she was named to the Pac-10 all-freshman Team, and was honored again in 2007 by being awarded All-Pac-10 honorable mention. The last OSU player to earn such honors was Gina Schmidt in 2000. In addition to these handsome awards, Rourke also achieved Pac-10 player of the week status in mid September.

Few volleyball players have known such success as Rourke, but she attributes all or her numerous accolades to her surrounding cast of players and coaches. Playing and learning with them has helped shape the young, successful volleyball player into the powerful offensive weapon she is today. “In practice, we all push each other,” Rourke said. “And it doesn’t matter who it is, everybody is there for a reason. That’s how we get better.”

The OSU volleyball team has improved a great deal this season. Being an ever-improving team can be very difficult, especially in the powerful and competitive Pac-10 conference. Rourke, naturally, is a major contributor to the OSU volleyball team. She and her teammates are proud of their performance. “I think this season was better than the last couple [seasons],” Rourke said. “Probably because I played more consistently than I had in the past years, so, all around, we were more consistent.”

When the smoke clears away from her white-hot season, Rourke stands third all-time in career kills with a dazzling 1,389. Her total points statistic of 1,583.5 is good enough for fourth all-time, as well as her attractive attacks total of 3,503. Her kills per set number of 4.44 earned her a total of 497 on the season, as well as a spot in the list of top 15 volleyball players in the nation. Behind all of these impressive numbers is a 6-foot-5-inch junior who gives all the credit for her success to her staff and teammates. Many of her fellow volleyball players also had a notable 2008 season, and it is the teamwork that these players strive to improve on that gives OSU volleyball its success. “It’s everything put together,” Rourke said. “It’s everyone being involved that makes us get better.”

With an overall record of 14-17 (5-0 at neutral sites) for 2008, the OSU volleyball team looks to improve yet again in the next season. Rourke will be joined by a host of junior teammates who plan on making next year a special season for Beaver Volleyball.

John Daly, sports writer,
This story was originally published by OSU Daily Barometer. To view the original story, click here

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