By: Kenny Bybee (email@example.com)
Rice 3-Illinois St. 2 (PDF)
COLUMBIA, Mo. – Five players totaled 10 or more kills and senior Chelsey Harris recorded her 1,000th career kill to help lead the Rice Owls volleyball team to a thrilling 3-2 victory (25-17, 17-25, 25-21, 21-25, 15-13) over the Illinois State Redbirds Saturday morning at the Tiger Invitational.
Rice (3-3) ended the seesaw battle with a 15-13 triumph in the deciding fifth set in which Harris recorded 7 of her match-leading 18 kills. The senior from Houston became the 15th player in Rice history to join the 1,000-career kills club with her big performance.
Rice junior setter Madison McDaniel notched her fourth double-double of the season with a match-high 51 assists and 20 digs. McDaniel distributed the ball to five different Owls who had 10 or more kills, including 18 from senior Leah Mikesky to tie Harris for the team-lead. Shelby Livingstone (12 kills), Grace Morgan (11 kills) and Portia Okafor (10 kills) also had double-figure kills.
Illinois St. (2-4) actually out hit the Owls .338-.323 but Rice recorded more kills (70-68), digs (72-61), blocks (7.0-3.0) and tied in assists (61-61).
“This was a good win for us for sure,” Rice head coach Genny Volpe said. “Illinois State is such a quality team. They are so sound fundamentally and it was hard for us to get a kill. We made some key adjustments, but most importantly we had six players on the court who wanted the ball when it was tight. I’m most excited by that.”
Rice won the first and third sets and used a six-point swing early in the fifth set, after falling behind 3-0, to turn the momentum.
The Owls return to action Saturday evening at the Tiger Invitational with a final match against host Missouri at 6:30 p.m. on the SEC Network+, which will be streamed on WatchESPN. Links for video and stats are available at RiceOwls.com, and fans can follow @RiceVolleyball on Twitter for live updates.