Rice sophomore setter Sara Blasier was named the Marquette Invitational MVP.
Sept. 13, 2014
Rice 3-James Madison 1
MILWAUKEE, WI - The Rice Owls volleyball team won their sixth consecutive match with a 3-1 (24-26, 27-25, 25-15, 25-21) victory over James Madison to win the Marquette Invitational Saturday evening at the Al McGuire Center.
Rice (8-3) secured their best 11-game start to a season and matched their longest win streak (six games) since the 2009-10 season, the same year the Owls advanced to the NCAA Tournament.
"I'm so proud of this team" Rice head coach Genny Volpe
said. "So many people contributed to this tournament championship. Today we got a huge spark from Portia Okafor
. She made a huge impact and the team rallied around her. It was pretty awesome to see. We have to say James Madison gave us a lot of problems and brought out some weaknesses that we need to continue to work on. But I'm proud of our fight and we showed so much character."
Mikesky picked up her eighth consecutive double-double with a team-best 17 kills (second-highest of the season) and 11 digs. Harris established a season-high with 15 kills while freshman Shelby Livingstone
recorded her first collegiate double-double with 11 kills and 13 digs. Okafor established a career-high with 10 kills on just 17 attacks for a .471 attack percentage.
Blasier (55 assists) came up one assists shy of tying her career-best mark for four sets and also chipped in seven kills and six digs. Junior Kimberly Vaio
led the Owls defense with 15 digs.
James Madison scored five unanswered points to take the opening set, 26-24. Rice had taken a 24-21 lead before the Dukes took advantage of four Rice attack errors to take the 1-0 lead. The Owls had 11 attack errors as a team in the set and hit just. 125.
Rice played much more efficiently on the offensive end in the second set by hitting .311 for the set. After James Madison rallied to tie the set, 25-25, the Owls answered with back-to-back kills from Raymond and Blasier to win 27-25 and tie the match 1-1.
The Owls took a 2-1 match lead with a 25-15 victory in the third set, hitting .355 and never relinquishing the lead after going up 2-1. In the fourth and final set the Owls opened up a 20-13 lead before finishing off the set, 25-21.
The Owls return to the court next weekend when they host the Rice Invitational II, Sept. 19-20 when they host Texas Southern, Louisville and Stephen F. Austin.