Owls Bounce Back With Win Over SFA

Jillian Humphrey and the Owls defeated SFA, 3-1 on Saturday.
Sept. 20, 2014

Final Stats | Box Score | Season Stats

HOUSTON, Texas – After seeing their seven-game win streak snapped the day before by Louisville, the Rice Owls volleyball team bounced back with a solid 3-1 (25-16, 26-24, 23-25, 25-20) victory over the Stephen F. Austin Ladyjacks in the Rice Invitational II finale at Tudor Fieldhouse Saturday.

Rice (10-4) used the momentum of a big comeback win in the second set and then followed a third set loss with their best offensive set of the day in the fourth set to win their 17th consecutive match over a Southland Conference opponent.
 
“We had experienced the same type of momentum swing in our game at Baylor earlier this year and know how a win like that can change a fortune of a match,” Rice head coach Genny Volpe said of the key set two victory. “That win proved pretty vital because SFA came right back and won that third set, give credit to them for the way they played. Jill Ivy gave us some problems and they showed they’re clearly a good team. We were disappointed after last night and the girls were still down a little this morning. We just told them that it’s over with and we can’t change yesterday but we can focus on the task at hand today. I was glad we played a team of SFA’s caliber to bring that challenge to us.”
 
The Owls got big offensive performances from both Leah Mikesky (18 kills) and Andi Bawcum (15 kills). The 15 kills from Bawcum were a career-high and she led the Owls with a .500 hitting percentage en route to being named to the All-Rice Invitational Team. 
 
“Andi was just terrific this weekend,” Volpe said. “She’s really been coming on strong and practice and she was able to prove her value this weekend, playing lights out and with a lot of poise.”
 
Jillian Humphrey led Rice with four blocks and was also named to the All-Rice Invitational Team. Four Owls totaled 10 or more digs, including a team-best 20 from Daniela Arenas. Kimberly Vaio (14 digs), Mikesky (14 digs) and Sara Blasier (11) also reached double-figures. Blasier had her sixth 40-plus assist match with 49 at night’s end, joining Mikesky as a double-double performer.
 
Rice took the opening set, 25-16, by limiting the Ladyjacks to a .029 attack percentage while the Owls hit .367. The Owls never trailed and Blasier had 10 assists while Humphrey and Mikesky each had three kills.
 
The Owls fell behind 20-13 in set two before storming back to take a 2-0 match lead with a 26-24 victory. During the comeback Mikesky had three kills while Kyley Reed came off the bench and contributed two kills. After rallying to tie the set 24-24, Reed gave the Owls the lead for good with a kill, followed by a block assist from Okafor and Reed.
 
Rice played from behind for nearly the entire third set before taking a brief 22-21 lead following a Mikesky kill, however, SFA managed to retake the lead and hang on for a 25-23 victory to force the first fourth set of the entire Rice Invitational II.
 
In the fourth and clinching set the Owls hit .333 while limiting SFA to just .095 and also converted 16-of-20 (80 percent) sideouts.
 
The Owls will next open up C-USA play with the start of a three-game road trip beginning at Southern Miss on Sept. 26 at 7 p.m. Rice will be back at Tudor Fieldhouse on Oct. 3 when they host UTEP.
 
All-Rice Invitational II Team
Maya McClendon- Louisville (MVP)
Tess Clark- Louisville
Janelle Jenkins- Louisville
Andi Bawcum- Rice
Jillian Humphrey- Rice
Jill Ivy- Stephen F. Austin
Ashley Markey- Texas Southern
 

 

 

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