Rice 3-SMU 1 (PDF Box Score)
DALLAS – Rice’s Nicole Lennon and Madison McDaniel each recorded double-doubles to help lead the Owls to an impressive 3-1 comeback victory at SMU Friday evening at Moody Coliseum.
The Owls (1-1) bounced back from a 3-1 loss to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi earlier in the day in their season opener to defeat the Mustangs (0-2) 18-25, 25-21, 26-24, 25-19.
Lennon backed up a 14-kill performance in her debut with a match-high 18 kills Friday evening and collected 13 digs to register her first collegiate double-double. McDaniel complimented Lennon’s performance with 39 assists and 13 digs for a double-double as well.
As a team, the Rice defense limited the Mustangs to just a .134 hitting percentage and posted 12.0 team blocks, eight of which came from senior middle blocker Portia Okafor.
“We’re really happy with tonight’s win, SMU a very quality team,” Rice head coach Genny Volpe said. “We were pretty inconsistent in this morning’s match and went through a lot of system and assignment issues. I’m really happy with the improvement from match to match. With each ball we seemed to get better and started resembling Rice volleyball. We really made strides on the defensive end, making inspirational digs, which allowed Madison to run the offense how we like. Obviously Nicole in her first two college matches has really stepped up and has shown she’s going to be a huge offensive threat for us. There were a lot of contributors in this one. Seyvion gave us a big lift and Portia gave us a presence at the net. We still have a lot of work to do but we showed a lot tonight to win on the road in the fashion we did.”
Rice dropped the opening set to the Mustangs 25-18 but bounced back to take set two 25-21 and even the match 1-1.
SMU opened up a 23-21 lead late in set three but a kill from Lennon followed by an SMU attack error pulled the Owls even at 23-23. The Mustangs grabbed set point 24-23 but the Owls closed on a 3-0 run on a kill from McKay Kyle, a block/assist from Grace Morgan/Okafor and then a set-sealing kill from Lennon.
Rice dominated the fourth and final set, jumping out to a 19-9 lead and despite a late SMU run, managed to notch the final point on a kill from Kyle.
The Owls will play their third and final match of the SMU Doubletree Invitational tomorrow at noon against Mississippi State (2-0). Rice will close out the weekend with a 2 p.m. match at TCU on Sunday.