By: Kenny Bybee (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Rice 3-Houston Baptist (PDF)
HOUSTON - Rice junior setter Madison McDaniel and senior outside hitter Leah Mikesky each notched double-doubles to help lead the Owls to a 3-0 sweep (25-17, 25-12, 25-21) over the Houston Baptist Huskies Tuesday evening in the home opener at Tudor Fieldhouse.
The Owls (2-2) won their second straight match overall by limiting the Huskies (1-3) to just a .093 hitting percentage and a 39 percent sideout percentage. Rice, who entered the night ranked 10th in the nation in total blocks, collected another 10-plus team blocks performance for a fourth straight match with 11.5 blocks on Tuesday.
McDaniel recorded her team-leading third double-double of the season with 36 assists and 11 digs while Mikesky posted a match-high 16 kills along with 10 digs. Rice senior opposite hitter Chelsey Harris also had a strong match for the Owls with 14 kills on 29 attacks (.310).
"It was a fun environment and it was good to finally be home," Rice head coach Genny Volpe said afterwards. "I was really pleased with how they came out. Madison did a great job of isolating out hitters. At first our passing was a little shaky but the team regrouped and focused on their first touch which allowed Madison to use all her options. Our defense is doing a good job of being disciplined as well. Overall I'm really happy with the 3-0 win."
The Owls jumped out to a 16-8 lead in the opening frame only to see HBU closed the deficit to 16-14 following a 6-0 spurt. Rice was able to respond with a strong finish, outscoring the Huskies 9-3 the rest of the way behind three kills from Harris to win 25-17.
In set two the Rice offense shined with a staggering .600 hitting percentage (19-of-30) en route to a start-to-finish 25-12 victory. Mikesky had five kills in the frame and the Owls had a sideout clip of 83 percent.
HBU gave the Owls a fight in the final set and opened up a lead as large as 11-5 before Rice called a timeout. From that point on Rice went on a 20-10 run to win the set and sweep the match.
Rice will now have a few days off before traveling to Columbia, Missouri to partake in the Tiger Invitational. The Owls will first face Utah on Friday at 1:30 p.m. before a Saturday doubleheader beginning with Illinois St. at 10:30 a.m., followed by host Missouri at 6:30 p.m. The match against the Tigers will be broadcasted on SEC Network+, which is available through the WatchESPN app.