Aug. 28, 2012
SAN ANTONIO, Texas- Rice defeated future Conference USA rival UTSA 3-1 at the Convocation Center on Tuesday night. Mariah Riddlesprigger and Megan Murphy posted double-doubles for the Owls.
Rice (2-2) hit .240 for the match, and held UTSA (2-2) to a .072 hitting percentage for the match. UTSA is the second opponent this season that Rice has held to a hitting percentage under .100.
"I thought the team came ready to play today," said Rice Head Coach Genny Volpe. "We started strong with our blocking and serving," added Volpe. "UTSA made a lot of errors so we knew they would come back strong in set three."
"I would have liked our response to their attack to have been stronger and have finished the match in three, because we are capable of that," said Volpe. "But, our team is continuously growing and improving so that's a positive."
This match marked the third of an eight-match stretch of opponents that won 18-or-more games in 2011. UTSA went 22-11 in 2011, and finished second in the Southland. Rice is now 13-1 in its all-time meetings with UTSA, as the Roadrunners enter C-USA next season.
Mariah Riddlesprigger had her best match of the young season, posting 10 kills, 16 digs and three service aces. Riddlesprigger's three aces are tied for the most by a C-USA player in a four-set match this season.
Megan Murphy posted 43 assists and 11 digs, marking her second double-double on the season. Murphy has 34-or-more assists in every match this season, and is averaging 11.07 assists per set. The redshirt junior from Duncan College picked up seven kills on a .500 hitting percentage.
Senior Nancy Cole led Rice with 14 kills, her third straight match with 13-or-more kills.
The Owls had four players with double-digit digs. Riddlesprigger led the team with 16, while Kimberly Vaio added 15 and Daniela Arenas posted 12, in addition to Murphy's 11.
With the first set tied at 10, the Owls opened up a 13-5 run to eventually win the set 25-17. Murphy led the team with three kills in the opening act.
The Owls hit .333 in the second set, a 25-14 victory for Rice. Rice broke all 15 of UTSA's serves in the second set and 70% of UTSA's serves in the match.
Despite four kills from Cole and 11 assists from Murphy, Rice could not overcome a 9-2 deficit and fell 25-22 in the third set. The Owls were able to break two set points before UTSA won the set.
In the fourth set, Rice held UTSA to a hitting percentage of .000, with the Roadrunners making eight errors. Rice won the fourth set 25-11, its second-largest set victory of the season. Lizzy Bache had five kills for the Owls in the penultimate set.
The Owls return home to host the recently relocated Tiger Classic at Fox Gym on the Rice Campus. Rice hosts LSU at 10 a.m. on Friday, followed by games against No. 7 Purdue on Friday and No. 14 Washington on Saturday. Admission is $5.00 cash and available on a first-come, first-serve basis.