Volleyball player, Mallory Rice, on choosing Tri-C to continue her academic & athletic career
By Ryan Bernstein
Mallory Rice chose Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C) to continue her academic and athletic career. Mallory answers some questions on why she chose Cuyahoga Community College and the reasons why volleyball is such a big part of her life.
While attending Streetsboro Middle School, Mallory Rice started playing volleyball when she was in sixth grade. Then in the seventh grade, she decided to join the school team and play more competitively. Rice played the libero position, the girl in the other color jersey, and has loved it ever since.
After her middle school years, she took her talent to the Streetsboro High School team. As she watched her older sister play the game and as she played with her family in their backyard, she realized that volleyball was her calling and chose to continue playing the game at Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C).
As Rice explored where to continue playing volleyball after high school, Tri-C made a lot of sense. “It’s a mix of everything that I wanted which included staying close to home and being on a competitive team,” says Rice. “When we have a lot of workouts, it’s not terrible or overdoing it.”
Rice had nothing but positives to say about her team and feels they have a bond and friendship that will last a lifetime. One thing she likes most about playing volleyball for Tri-C is “probably the girls.”
“We all get along because we all have the same mindset of wanting to stay home. The schooling here is nice and I don’t know, it’s just I couldn’t ask for a better group of girls.”
In addition to being close to her teammates, Rice is very excited about the new head coach, Tionne El-Amin and assistant coach, Shanyla Johnson. “I think she’s great,” says Rice of El-Amin. “She is a great person, great player, and great coach. She’s new and works with all of us, and we love Coach T and Coach Shanyla.”
Rice plays the DS/Libero position which is the player in the other color jersey. “Mal is one of my top recruits and has lived up to my expectations,” El-Amin said when asked about Rice’s performance this season. “She has a very high IQ, is dedicated, and a hard worker which helps her be one of the best defensive players on the team.”
After a two year suspension of sports at Tri-C due to the pandemic, the volleyball team returned for the 2022 season ready to go and with hopes of making a deep run in the playoffs. The team ended the season in early November with an overall record of 7-12 – they finished 5-9 in their conference, 4-4 at home, 2-5 away, and 1-3 neutral. They went on to play in the 2022 NJCAA Division II Great Lakes A Volleyball Championship in Port Huron, Michigan on November 3 – 5.
Rice had big expectations for the team and felt they had built something great that would be unleashed during the tournament. “I think we’ll do great,” Rice said. “I think we’ve been building up to be a great team and we just haven’t gotten to that point. I think we’re going to leave it all out on the court and will go far.”
Of all the great volleyball experiences this season, “switching to libero just completely changed the season for me,” Rice said. “I was the libero in high school, so it’s different for me not to be the libero. But I think I belong in that spot because it’s just more fun and it’s my position.”
Rice says that “keeping a level head and confidence” are key for young athletes who want to play volleyball. “Volleyball is such a game of confidence and a lot of players get frustrated. Like the second you think negatively, you will play worse.”