HOUSTON - The Rice Owls volleyball team made their long-awaited home debut Friday morning, sweeping the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns in straight sets (27-25, 25-23, 25-22) on day one of the Rice Adidas Invitational I.
Rice (5-3) had three players post 10 or more kills in the victory, including a match-high 14 from freshman Seyvion Waggoner. Junior middle blocker McKay Kyle hit a very efficient .417 while notching 13 kills and freshman outside hitter Nicole Lennon added an additional 10 kills.
Senior setter Madison McDaniel had a stellar performance for the Owls, dishing out 47 assists in just three sets while also collecting nine digs. Sophomore libero Lee Ann Cunningham totaled a match-high 23 digs while freshman Lauren Lee added an additional 13 digs. Senior middle blocker Portia Okafor led all players with four blocks and added seven kills on 13 attacks (.308).
Rice outhit Louisiana (4-4) .210-.123 while outgaining the Ragin' Cajuns in kills (53-30), digs (61-49), blocks (7.0-4.0) and sideout percentage (55.6-50.7).
The two teams played a tightly contested opening set in which Rice broke a 24-24 tie with a combo block from Okafor/McDaniel, followed by kills from Waggoner and Okafor to win 27-25. Rice had to rally late to win set two, escaping a 20-17 deficit to win 25-23. During the 8-3 run Kyle posted a pair of kills and a combo block from Kassidy Muse/Okafor sealed the winning point.
The Owls again used a late rally to seal the victory in set three, breaking a 22-22 tie with three straight points to record the team's second sweep of the young season.
The Owls will look to make it two wins in a row later this evening when they host California (6-1) at 7 p.m.