Andi Bawcum came off the bench to post six kills in nine attacks on Friday.
Sept. 12, 2014
Final Stats | Box Score | Season Stats
MILWAUKEE, WI – The Rice Owls made their most emphatic statement of the early season with a convincing, 3-1 (25-19, 25-19, 20-25, 25-15) triumph over the Marquette Golden Eagles in the nightcap of day one of the Marquette Invitational Friday evening.
Rice (7-3) won their fifth straight match by defeating a Marquette team that came into play on Friday ranked 26th in the nation and just outside the Top 25 with 50 receiving votes. The last time the Owls beat a team as close to the Top 25 was in 2009 when they defeat then No. 17 LSU (3-0).
The Owls were victorious largely in part to their defense, which totaled a staggering season-high 79 digs. Four Owls recorded double-digits digs, including a season-high 22 from senior Daniela Arenas
. Sara Blasier
(19), Leah Mikesky
(18) and Kimberly Vaio
(10) also had double-figure digs.
“This was a great match for our team tonight,” Rice head coach Genny Volpe
said. “Defensively it was the best match of the season and we knew we had to play phenomenal defense to beat a team like Marquette. I am so proud of everybody on the team for their contributions but most importantly the discipline and tenacity we had was very inspiring.”
The Owls held Marquette (4-3) to just a .134 attack percentage and 64 percent-53 percent sideout advantage. Mikesky tallied her seventh straight double-double by also adding a team-best 14 kills. Blasier also had 37 assists to go along with five kills. Five Owls contributed seven or more kills on the night.
“Our middles did a great job working all night to close blocks and give Marquette’s outsides a hard time,” Volpe said. “Daniela Arenas had probably the best match of the season. Sara (Blasier) was spot on with her distribution and had 19 digs, which was key. But probably the most inspiring thing of the night was Andi Bawcum
coming off the bench and providing a spark on the outside. This was a complete team effort and I’m hoping to keep this going into tomorrow’s match.”
In set one, Rice took the lead for good at 14-13 and never looked back. After five early ties and four lead changes the Owls pulled away in the late stages on their way to a 25-19 win. In the second set the Owls led start to finish, maintain at least a five-point cushion for most of the set.
Following a Marquette 25-20 win in the third set to snap an 11-set consecutive win streak for the Owls, Rice responded with their best offensive set of the night by hitting .353 (17-of-34) and never trailed on their way to match-sealing 25-15 win.
Rice will next be looking to win the Marquette Invitational outright tomorrow evening when they face James Madison at 6 p.m.