Sept. 20, 2013
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Rice University volleyball challenged Virginia Tech in the Active Ankle Challenge opener but came up short in a 3-0 loss to the streaking Hokies, 25-16, 25-23, 25-16. It was Virginia Tech's eighth win in a row as the squad improved to 11-1 on the season.
Tyler Jenkins led the Owls' (3-9) offense with 10 kills on 27 attempts with a .222 hitting percentage. Daniela Arenas picked up 13 of the team's 35 digs and Jillian Humphrey patrolled the net on three of Rice's six blocks to accompany seven kills.
Virginia Tech opened an early 12-4 lead in the opening set and expanded it to as many as 10 points before the Owls staged a rally to cut it as close as 17-10. From there, the teams played nearly even as the Hokies claimed a 25-16 win.
Rice used the momentum it gained late in the first stanza to challenge VT in its closest set in nearly three matches. The teams battled with 12 ties and a pair of lead changes as neither side gained an advantage greater than three points throughout. Rice hit a solid .324 in the set, committing just five errors in 37 attempts in the 25-23 nailbiter.
The Hokies regained their poise after the intermission and used a 4-0 mid-set run to turn an 11-7 lead into an eight-point cushion. Rice was unable to find much of a rhythm in the final set as Virginia Tech won 87 percent of its side-out opportunities en route to the 25-16 clincher.
Sara Blasier passed out 29 of Rice's 33 assists and added five kills, two blocks and a dig. Noelle Whitlock continued her strong offensive play with eight kills to accompany seven sigs, two assists and a block.
The tournament continues on Saturday as Rice challenges host Louisville (2-6) at 11 a.m. CT and Bowling Green (2-7) in the afternoon at 4:30 p.m. CT.