WACO, Texas - The Rice Owls volleyball squad responded to a disappointing four-set loss from earlier in the week with the team's second sweep of the year Friday afternoon, taking down UNC-Greensboro in three sets (25-16, 25-22, 25-22) on day one of the Baylor Classic.
Rice (9-3) had three players post double-digit kills, led by a match-high 14 kills (.545) from junior right side hitter Chelsey Harris. Senior outside hitter Noelle Whitlock (11 kills) and junior outside hitter Leah Mikesky (10 kills) also delivered double-figure kills.
Freshman setter Julianna Dole notched her first collegiate double-double of her career with 41 assists and 10 digs in her first-ever start. The Santa Clara, California native helped the Owls' offense bounce back with a.306 team hitting percentage.
Senior libero Kimberly Vaio not only recorded a season and match-high 24 digs, the San Antonio native also became just the 15th Owl in school history to surpass 1,000 career digs. The Owls limited the Spartans (10-3) to just a .162 hitting percentage by digging 57 UNCG attacks as a team.
"This win goes to the entire team," Rice head coach Genny Volpe said. "They were all prepared and focused and bounced back from Tuesday nicely. Kimberly played amazing today and really stole several kills away from UNCG. They had some swings that looked like sure kills and Kim just made some awesome saves. Julianna set a really solid match and played great defense as well."
The Owls came out of the gates the aggressors in the opening set and rolled to a 25-16 victory. Rice hit a match-high .600 (14-of-20) and had 64 percent sideout clip while holding UNCG to a team-hitting percentage of .034. Rice spread the wealth offensively in the set with three players recording three or more kills.
The Spartans held a slight advantage for most of set two until Rice took a 20-19 lead, and held it for good, on a block-assist from Dole and Portia Okafor. Harris tacked on a pair of kills and Okafor was a part of two more blocks to help Rice gain the 2-0 match advantage with a 25-22 victory.
The Owls put the finishing touches on a sweep with another 25-22 win in the third set. Rice never allowed UNCG to take a lead by jumping out to a quick 6-2 advantage.
Rice will be back at it on Saturday for their final two non-conference games of the season, beginning with the Stephen F. Austin Ladyjacks at 12:30 p.m., followed by the host Baylor Bears in the nightcap at 7 p.m.