Sept. 16, 2011
Nacogdoches, Texas - In their third straight five-set match, the Rice Owls fell 3-2 to North Dakota at Chilly Fillmore's SFA Invitational inside Shelton Gym.
Rice won the first set 25-23 and the third set 25-17, but North Dakota won set two 25-16, set four 25-23, and the decisive set 15-5. North Dakota improves to 8-3 on the season, while the Owls are now 3-6.
"We are at a point where the rubber meets the road, as four of our losses are matches that have went the distance and fell," stated Owl mentor Genny Volpe. "We are more determined than ever to make the changes we need to get on the winning track. We are making mistakes at unfortunate times and its winding up to being the difference."
The Owls have lost five-set matches to Delaware, Cincinnati, Pacific, and now North Dakota.
Laurie McNamara had 11 kills and a team-high 16 digs to register a double-double for Rice. Nancy Cole had 10 kills, while Mariah Riddlesprigger also contributed 9 kills and 10 digs.
UND, with four players in double-digit kills, was led by Devin Trefz's 18 kills and Annika Smed's 16 kills. Felicia Ulrich had 14, while Ronni Munkby had 13 kills. North Dakota out-hit the Owls .317 with 70 kills to Rice's .231 and 53 kills.
"North Dakota has some nice outside hitters that caused us trouble consistently and I them credit for not backing down," said Volpe. "We will review film, take a moment to regroup, and bounce back for Saturday's two matches."
Rice plays Sam Houston State on Saturday at 10 a.m. and SFA at 7 p.m.