By: Kenny Bybee (email@example.com)
Texas Tech 3-Rice 2 (PDF)
HOUSTON - The Rice Owls volleyball team battled Texas Tech for five grueling sets on Wednesday evening at Tudor Fieldhouse, but in the end it was the Red Raiders who rallied from a 13-10 deficit in the final frame to hand the Owls a home setback (25-20, 17-25, 25-15, 23-25, 18-16).
"I thought once again we showed a ton of fight tonight and were much improved on some things that were problem areas last weekend," Rice head coach Genny Volpe said. "Portia had an amazing offensive night as well as Chelsey and Leah. We just had some errors on our side of the net that proved to be costly. It will be a quick recovery as we play in less than 48 hours but we'll be ready to go on Friday."
Rice (4-7) dropped their third straight match at home despite big performances from junior setter Madison McDaniel (59 assists, 10 digs) and Leah Mikesky (18 kills, 11 digs), each of whom notched double-doubles.
Chelsey Harris (16 kills) and Portia Okafor (13 kills) also had strong offensive performances in the loss while freshman libero Lee Ann Cunningham led all players with 21 digs. Shelby Livingstone (12 digs) and Julianna Dole (11 digs) also reached double-figures in the kills department.
Texas tech (10-2) won their 10th straight match by having four players notch 10 or more kills and the Red Raiders outhit the owls .230 to .205.
The two teams played to nine ties in the fifth set and also had four lead changes. Rice had a 14-13 lead with a chance to clinch the match but Texas Tech responded with consecutive points. The Owls then withstood two match point opportunities before the Red Raiders sealed the 18-16 victory on a Rice error.
The Owls will next host their second home tournament in as many weekends, beginning this Friday at 1:30 p.m. versus Yale in a match that will be played in Fox Gymnasium with free admission.
Rice will then play a Saturday doubleheader against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (12 p.m.) and crosstown foe Houston (7:30 p.m.). Both of those matches will be played at Autry Court inside Tudor Fieldhouse.