Sept. 20, 2011
Houston - Katie Norris posted 17 kills to lead Houston to a tight 3-0 Conference USA volleyball victory over Rice inside Tudor Fieldhouse.
Set scores were 25-19, 26-24, and 25-22. Rice is now 5-7 overall and 0-1 in C-USA action, while UH moves to 8-3 and 1-0 in league play. The win by UH halts a two-year four-match losing streak to the Owls.
"I have to give credit to Houston," stated Owl head coach Genny Volpe. "They executed, established their middles, and Katie Norris took over and we did not respond well to her. Houston had a well-balanced offense, as do we, but their transition was stronger than ours, and that is the big reason why they were able to win the close sets. Houston's transition proved to be the big difference."
Besides Norris, UH's Lucy Charuk had 8 kills and a .389 hitting percentage. Norris also hit .531 with 17 kills, zero errors, and 32 attacks.
Set One Close
With the score tied at 8, the Cougars were able to forger an 11-8 lead behind the strong serving of freshman Caitlin Ogletree. The lead was 13-9, but the Owls battled back to take a 16-15 lead. At 19-19, UH rallied to score the last six points of the set for a 25-19 win.
Houston hit .302 with 17 kills, while Rice managed 15 kills (.191). The Owls' Mariah Riddlesprigger turned in one of her finer sets with a set-high 7 kills. UH was paced by Lucy Charuk's 6 kills.
Even Tighter in Set Two
Houston started with a 12-8 lead, but the Owls whittled it down and tied set two at 13-13, with 3 kills by Nancy Cole. From that point on, the two squads traded points until UH was able to secure the final two points for a 26-24 win.
The Owls improved their hitting to .224 with 17 kills, but Houston hit .312 with 17 kills. Katie Norris led the Cougars with 7 kills, while Ingrida Zauere added 6 kills. Riddlesprigger and Cole led the Owls with 4 kills each.
Set Three to Houston
The Cougars raced to an early 6-2 margin, but Rice quickly tied it at 7, before taking the lead at 11-8. It was tied at 14, when UH went on a 7-1 run for a 21-15 margin. A service ace by Daniela Arenas cut Houston's lead to 23-21 and then Riddlesprigger followed with a kill to make it 23-22. The Cougars, however, were able to get the final two points to win 25-22.
Norris again led UH with 6 kills, while Charuk added 4 kills. Rice was led by Coles' 3 kills. Both squads hit .200, with Houston having a slight edge in kills 13 to 12.
Rice hosts Tulane on Friday at 7 p.m. and Southern Miss on Sunday at 2 p.m. inside Tudor Fieldhouse.