Oddly enough, the first time Caitlin Ogletree ever visited the University of Houston, she cried.
“My mom literally dragged me here on my official visit. It was the only week I didn’t have volleyball,” Ogletree laughed at the memory.
From a rather bleak and dreary beginning, she quickly warmed up to the idea of being a Cougar.
“I fell in love with UH Athletics and how they were part of a growing program,” Ogletree said. “Now that I am here and I’m getting experience, with academics and athletics, it’s a privilege to be a part of that.”
As if falling in love with the school wasn’t good enough, Ogletree has become a key member of the squad, with head coach Kaddie Platt going as far to praise her as a natural born leader.
“Her greatest gift is she makes the players around her better,” Platt said. “It doesn’t matter who she’s playing with; her teams always win because she’s a winner.”
“She’s absolutely amazing,” said senior Stephanie Nwachukwu. “I love Caitlin; she’s always on fire. She loves volleyball so she makes you want to work so hard just for her and the team. She always pushes me to be better.”
Her gung-ho attitude has helped her advance in competitive volleyball.
“There’s a huge difference between club play and high school play than coming into Division One,” Ogletree said. “I’ve never realized how much I could push myself.”
Along with the freshmen, the University has recruited some coaches as well.
“The new coaches are awesome,” Ogletree said. “I feel like they bring a completely different mindset to the game. We’ve learned so many new things.”
She’s just as quick to praise her teammates.
“Everyone is becoming a more versatile player. In practice, everyone is almost working on every position. That’s been great for us.”
After being named fifth in a pre-season C-USA poll, a lot of pressure rests on Ogletree and her teammates.
“That made some of us a little mad,” Ogletree said. “A conference title is a huge goal for us. Definitely a conference title and definitely making it to a tournament have been goals for us, especially for the returning players. You gotta do what you gotta do.”