Aug. 24, 2012
HOUSTON- Rice's volleyball team opened the season with a 3-0 sweep over Air Force in the first game of the Rice Invitational I. Lizzy Bache paced the team with 10 kills.
"It feels good to open up the season with a 3-0 win, because going into the first match there are always questions about playing another opponent," said Rice Head Coach Genny Volpe. "I'm definitely happy about defeating a very scrappy, well coached team in Air Force. We were able to contain what they were throwing at us and still win in three, which I'm very happy with."
"We need to clean up our offensive rhythm, and that's what I'm looking for tomorrow," added Volpe "I thought that our defense got better throughout the match, especially our blocking, that's what set us apart from sets one and two."
The Owls (1-0) have now won four of their last five season openers and are 11-2 in home openers since 2000. All-time, Rice is now 18-15 in season-openers and 24-9 in home openers. Rice has won four straight games in the Rice Invitational, dating back to last season's Rice Invitational II.
The Owls picked up 13 blocks in the match and held Air Force (0-1) to a .085 hitting percentage for the match.
Defensively, libero Daniela Arenas led the team with 11 digs.
Rice won the first set 25-22, after starting out the match and the season with a 17-8 run. Air Force closed the gap to two points twice, but never led in the set. Megan Murphy contributed 13 of her 34 assists in the opening set.
Rice took the second set 25-10 behind five blocks by both McNamara and Humphrey, who would both go on to get eight blocks in the match. Humphrey also registered three kills in the set. Rice had a 7-0 run with Daniela Arenas serving early in the set to bring the score to 12-2 and never looked back. The Owls held Air Force to a -.212 hitting percentage in the second set.
The Owls continue the Rice Invitational I with two games on Saturday, taking on Arkansas State (0-1) at 12:30 p.m. and BYU at 7:30 p.m.