By: Kenny Bybee (email@example.com)
Rice 3-LA Tech 0 (PDF)
HOUSTON – The Rice Owls volleyball team closed out their nine-match homestand in style with a 3-0 sweep (25-18, 25-14, 25-12) of the Louisiana Tech Lady Techsters Sunday afternoon for the team’s fifth straight victory.
Rice (9-7, 2-0) held Tech (8-6, 0-1) to a .081 hitting percentage while the Owls were very efficient on the offensive end at a .396 clip. Senior right side hitter Chelsey Harris continued her strong play with a team-best 15 kills on 22 attacks (.636) and 18.0 total points.
Junior setter Madison McDaniel picked up her 11th double-double of the season, orchestrating the Rice offense with 31 assists along with 11 digs. Portia Okafor and Leah Mikesky added eight kills apiece while senior Andi Bawcum chipped in another seven kills.
The Owls achieved their sixth sweep of the season with a 71 percent sideout rate and only four attack errors. Rice only trailed three times the entire match with no deficit larger than a single point.
“I’m so proud of our team’s approach to this match and the outcome,” Rice head coach Genny Volpe said. “I thought Madison did a phenomenal job running the offense and defensively as well. Chelsey’s performance all weekend was phenomenal. She was definitely our go-to and was very consistent. We will look to build on this going on the road next week.”
Rice hit .472 (18-of-36) in the opening frame and had four players notch three or more kills. McDaniel picked up 15 assists in the first set alone while Bawcum recorded five kills. In set two the Owls limited the Lady Techsters to a .026 hitting percentage and took advantage of 10 Tech errors. The Lady Techsters took a 9-8 lead over the Owls in set three but Rice responded with a 16-3 run to seal the victory.
For the first time since Sept. 3 the Owls will hit the road next weekend for a pair of matches in the state of Tennessee. Rice faces the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders on Friday at 7 p.m., followed by a Saturday non-conference contest at Tennessee State at 7 p.m.