By: Kenny Bybee (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Rice 3-Houston 0 (PDF)
HOUSTON - The Rice Owls volleyball team put the finishing touches on a 3-0 weekend at the Rice Adidas Invitational II Tournament with a convincing 3-0 sweep (25-18, 25-21, 25-21) of their crosstown rival Houston Cougars Saturday evening at Tudor Fieldhouse.
Rice (7-7) won their season-high third straight match to pull to .500 entering Conference USA play next weekend by outhitting the Cougars (5-6) .243-.121 and had a 62-47 advantage in digs.
Senior right side hitter Chelsey Harris, who was selected the tournament MVP, tied fellow tournament selectee Leah Mikesky with a match-high 13 kills. For the weekend Harris notched 36 kills (.360 kills per set), along with 11 blocks and a team-best 41.5 points.
Mikesky also picked up her seventh double-double of the season by accumulating 16 digs. Rice junior setter Madison McDaniel was also named to the all-tournament team and posted 37 assists and nine digs in the win.
The sweep was the Owls fifth of the season and the fourth at Tudor Fieldhouse. All in all, it was a much-needed weekend for the Owls after several close losses.
"The timing is good for sure," Rice head coach Genny Volpe said afterwards. "It's always good to win before going into conference. I've just been so impressed with the focus of the team because some of the losses we've had were really tough to swallow. We knew that we gave up some points here and there and they put their heart and soul into those matches. They're showing every day that they're so committed. But we know we can't take our foot off the gas because C-USA is going to be a very tough conference."
The Owls will open C-USA play next weekend at Tudor Fieldhouse when they host UTEP on Friday, Sept. 23 at 6 p.m., followed by a Sunday 1 p.m. against Louisiana Tech.
Rice Adidas Invitational II All-Tournament Team
MVP- Chelsey Harris, Rice
Madison McDaniel, Rice
Leah Mikesky, Rice
Brittani Steinberg, Yale
Franny Arnautou, Yale
Morgan Carlson, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi
Katie Karbo, Houston