Coming off of a multiple award-winning junior campaign, Hunt looks toward the new season to finish what she started
The countdown to the first day of school has concluded. With it, Niagara University’s anticipation for the start of their multiple athletic programs’ season is at a high. There was a lot of good coming from the several athletic programs on campus. Some notable highlights from last spring include Sierra Bertrand’s no-hitter, a formidable first-round playoff win from Niagara lacrosse and baseball sending two of it’s all-stars to the highest level of competition. Of course, with a new season brings new expectations and storylines to recognize; one of them, volleyball’s Rylee Hunt.
The Cypress, CA native has built quite the reputation since coming to Niagara becoming one of the focal points of the team’s success. Hunt’s posted a catalog of career numbers separating her from the pack.
In her first two seasons at Niagara, Hunt has a career 4.86 digs per set with a career high 42 versus Iona College. She’s also recorded career highs in single-game records including two kills verses Fairfield, 12 assists against Evansville and once recorded six aces in a match. On top of the numbers, Hunt has the awards to backup the hype. Last season, Hunt was second in the MAAC in digs and moved to No. 3 on Niagara’s all-time digs list helping her earn co-libero of the year, an award she won by herself a season before. She’s the only Purple Eagle to ever win the award more than once. On top of that, Hunt was also the recipient of Niagara’s Comeback Player of the Year after suffering a hand injury back in February. But that was last season, and while it was impressive, its success cannot be brought to the season laying in front of the team now. Now, Hunt is rehabbing after a hip surgery working with doctors, ready for what the season holds.
“Our record might not show it but we’ve improved from the first weekend until now, I think each team has challenged us in a different way and shown what we need to work on,” says Hunt. “I’ve already seen huge strides with the team so it’s exciting.”
Niagara began conference play this past weekend, Sept. 16-17. Hunt went on to explain the new improvements to the team as well as returning key factors.
“I think the senior class has stepped up as a whole,” said Hunt. “As a group it’s our last year, I think everyone has stepped up as a whole.”
In regards to key additions, Hunt has seen good things from freshman Jaycie Roberts and Grace Hetterscheidt.
“I think we’ve seen a lot from freshman, they’ve definitely helped us out and stepped up.”
While reflecting on the past year and the several successes enjoyed by Hunt, she remains focused on this season.
“(The awards) shows the hard work I’ve put in but I definitely have to give credits to my coaches and teammates and NU staff as well because I wouldn’t be here without them.”
Hunt went on to say that she looks to improve on her stats and that her goal is to play well for her team. Season-long goals include winning the MAAC and getting better as a team.
“We have the potential, we have to prove it. We have all the pieces,” said Hunt. “It’s just up to us whether we win it or not.”