Aug. 27, 2010
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Houston - The Rice Owls volleyball team had three players in double-digit kills as it swept the visiting Red Raiders of Texas Tech 3-0 at the Rice Invitational in front of 1,044 boisterous fans inside Tudor Fieldhouse. Set scores were 25-23, 25-16, and 25-23.
"We struggled early on with our block and our first touch but we finally settled in and ran our offense the way we know how," commented Rice head Genny Volpe. "The new faces on our team played really composed and added a lot to our win. I thought our middles made the difference in pressure situations and Ashleigh McCord had a great offensive night. We certainly need to be ready for a very good UTSA team tomorrow morning."
The Owls were led by junior Ashleigh McCord who pounded a match-high 15 kills with a .321 hitting percentage. Laurie McNamara and Nancy Cole also smacked 10 kills for the victors.
Rice (1-0) totaled 51 kills and a .240 hitting percentage, to Tech's 28 kills (.111). Amanda Dowdy led Texas Tech (0-1) with 13 kills. The Red Raiders collected 12 team blocks, but also committed 9 blocking errors.
Rice setter Meredith Schamun directed a smart offensive attack with a match-high 47 assists and super libéro Tracey Lam had a match-high 17 digs. Megan White also had 11 digs for the Owls, while Jordan Meredith and McCord each had 8 digs. Rice head coach Genny Volpe received some offensive production from two of her freshmen. Mariah Riddlesprigger and Megan Shepard impressed and smoked 6 and 5 kills apiece in their Rice debut.
In set one, Rice commanded an early 10-4 lead following a wicked kill by Laurie McNamara, her first of a team set-high 5. Texas Tech then started blocking its ways back into the set and tied it at 15 on a service ace.
McNamara's fifth kill put the Owls ahead at 21-19 and it was 24-23 after a kill by Ashleigh McCord. A Red Raider hitting error gave the first set to the Owls.
Tech posted 6 team blocks in the first set with 9 kills (.091), while the Owls hit .150 with 17 kills.
The Owls broke away from a close score early in the second set to forge an 18-12 lead and then proceeded to cruise for a 25-16 win. McCord and and freshman Mariah Riddlesprigger each had 5 kills to lead Rice as the Owls totaled 20 kills (.370) and held Texas Tech to 8 kills (.122 hitting percentage).
Rice displayed some of that Tudor magic that it's known for as is it staged a nice comeback to win set three and the match. The Owls were down 14-9, but after a Riddlesprigger kill and a block assist the deficit was at 17-13. Rice was still behind at 21-19, when the Owls scored four straight points on a Nancy Cole block, two kills by McCord, and a service ace by Megan White put the Blue and Gray ahead for good at 23-22. A kill by Cole at the net secured the Owl victory at 25-23.
In the night's first match, UTSA came from 0-2 to win 3-2 over Mississippi. Set scores were (18-25, 21-25, 34-32, 25-17, and 20-18).
The Rice Invitational continues on Saturday with four matches. Texas Tech and Mississippi play at 10:30 a.m. with UTSA and Rice meeting at 12:30 p.m. UTSA and Texas Tech then play at 5 p.m. with the Rebels and the Owls doing battle at 7:30 p.m. to conclude the weekend's festivities.
Sat., Aug. 28
Texas Tech vs. Mississippi, 10:30 a.m.
UTSA vs. Rice, 12:30 p.m.
Texas Tech vs. UTSA, 5 p.m.
Rice vs. Mississippi, 7:30 p.m.