By: Kenny Bybee (email@example.com)
Rice 3-Yale 0 (PDF)
HOUSTON - The Rice Owls volleyball team came out on a mission Friday afternoon in Fox Gymnasium, defeating the Yale Bulldogs in straight sets (25-8, 25-15, 25-20) to put an end to a three-match losing streak on the first day of the Rice Adidas Invitational II tournament.
Rice (5-7) dominated Yale (5-2) in possession with a sideout clip of 77 percent and hit a season-high .413 as a team. Junior setter Madison McDaniel notched her team-leading eighth double-double of the year with a match-high 28 assists and 17 digs. Senior right side hitter Chelsey Harris led all players with 13 kills while hitting .556 and fellow senior teammate Leah Mikesky added an additional 10 kills with a .381 hitting percentage.
Senior outside hitter Andi Bawcum gave the Owls a boost with 9 kills (.364) while making her first start of the season and junior middle Portia Okafor registered another 8 kills (.471) along with 4 blocks. As a team the Owls matched a three-set, season-high in team digs with 53, 18 of which came from freshman libero Lee Ann Cunningham.
Rice led from nearly start to finish, exchanging the lead only once in the early stages of set two. The Owls hit .483 in the opening frame en route to a 25-8 victory over the Bulldogs. Rice outscored Yale 20-3 and used a 10-0 run to break the set open.
The Owls then went on a 7-1 run midway through the second set to create space and take a commanding 2-0 match lead with a 25-15 victory in game two. Rice nearly replicated their hitting percentage from the first set with a .478 mark.
Rice never trailed in the third and final set, despite the Bulldogs cutting the deficit to 22-18 at one juncture. Kills from Okafor and Bawcum sealed the Owls fourth sweep of the season.
Friday's morning match between Houston and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi was not played. All matches on Saturday will be played as scheduled on Autry Court in Tudor Fieldhouse.
The Owls will play a doubleheader on Saturday beginning at noon against the Islanders on Autry Court in Tudor Fieldhouse. Rice will then close out the tournament with a 7:30 p.m. match versus the Houston Cougars.