Senior libero Alex Nunez’s time on the Loyola women’s volleyball team is coming to an end. The Ramblers are currently eighth in the Missouri Valley Conference in digs and Nunez leads the squad with 438.
Nunez, team co-captain, has been doing her best to guide the team in the right direction this season, according to head coach Amanda Berkley.
“She’s been a great leader for us,” Berkley said. “[Nunez is] really positive and really demanding of her teammates and she’s been a super competitor [who] wants to win.”
Senior outside hitter Morgan Gresham said Nunez has invented herself over her four years at Loyola to be a leader for the Ramblers and makes sure her teammates can hear her on the floor.
“I mean even coming in as a [first-year,] she was always loud [and] has a big voice on the court,” Gresham said. “I think just last year and this year she’s really taken [her job] and made it her own and has really stepped into her captain role this year and has really been a good leader for us out on the court.”
Nunez, 22, said she’s a competitive athlete and person since she’s played in every match for the Ramblers since her junior season. She said her individual goal was to insert more competitive energy into the team and to have a memorable final season at Loyola.
“Coming especially off of last year, I think one of my goals was to go back to having fun and enjoying my season,” Nunez, a biology major, said. “Naturally, I’m competitive and the team is competitive, so when we kind of got that good culture back and that environment, it kind of just allowed us to be more competitive as well as having fun and just enjoying my last year.”
Last season, Nunez and the Ramblers went 5-24, which led to the firing of head coach Chris Muscat. Berkley said Nunez is always wanting the best from her teammates by demanding the best play during matches, and she wants their character to be the best.
“She just expects the most from them,” Berkley said. “[Nunez wants them] to do the right thing on the court and off the court, but she’s just not afraid to say anything and she’s a good leader for us.”
Gresham said Nunez’s play and leadership is crucial for the Ramblers’ defense and she’ll be reliable for the remaining games on the schedule.
“Alex is super important, she’s our starting libero,” Gresham said. “So she [is a] leader on defense and serve receives and [having her] back there, and I think her voice and energy, is really what helps carry us through matches and that’s going to be really important having that coming up in the couple key games.”
Berkley said Nunez’s role for the rest of the season is important for the team’s success in their final two games.
“Her role is going to be huge because she needs to be really able to defend and pass,” Berkley said. “[If] she can really [take] charge of passing, and really do a great job with [our] serve-receive, then we can be really successful, so we need her to be confident the rest of the way.”
The Ramblers have two matches left in the regular season — both on the road. Nunez said she’s focusing on the best possible finish for the team in the remaining stretch.
“I think that would just be playing our best,” Nunez said. “Obviously, we want to get as many wins as possible for the rest of the season. I think staying focused on these last games that we have [ahead] and making sure we make it to the conference tournament.”
The Ramblers’ next match is set to take place Nov. 16 against Southern Illinois University in Carbondale.