Owls Sweep Southern Miss in C-USA Opener

Daniela Arenas led the Owls with 20 digs in Friday's win at Southern Miss.
Sept. 26, 2014

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HATTIESBURG, MS - Three Owls recorded double-digit kills and Sara Blasier dished out 40 assists to help lead the Rice volleyball team to a 3-0 sweep (26-24, 25-23, 25-22) of Southern Miss in the Conference USA opener Friday evening at Reed Green Coliseum.
 
Rice (11-4, 1-0) used some late game, comeback dramatics in the first two sets and carried that momentum into the third set to complete the Owls seventh sweep of the season, matching the same number of sweeps the Owls had all of last season. 
 
The Owls also had the support of the Rice football team, who showed up to give their support a day before their game at Southern Miss tomorrow evening. 
 
"I was glad to see us come out so focused," Rice head coach Genny Volpe said. "We can do some impressive things when we do that. Our offense was pretty solid all evening and I felt like we made some solid adjustments in set two when they were getting hot. We also really want to thank our Rice football team and Coach Bailiff for bringing the football team to support us. It was awesome to have them cheering us on the road."
 
Rice sophomore right side hitter Chelsey Harris led all players with 14 kills (.407 hitting percentage) and was joined in double-digit kills by Leah Mikesky (13) and Jillian Humphrey (10). Sophomore setter Sara Blasier finished with a match-high 40 assists, her seventh 40-plus assists performance of the season. Senior libero Daniela Arenas led all players with 20 digs, her seventh such performance of the season and her sixth in last seven games. Freshman Portia Okafor led the Owls with four blocks.
 
The Owls hit a modest .263 for the match but were able to hold Southern Miss (12-6, 1-1) to a hitting percentage of just .169. Rice also bested the Golden Eagles in the digs department, 57-46.
 
The two teams played to 15 ties in the opening set and Rice actually found themselves on the wrong side of set point (23-24), however, the Owls reeled off three consecutive points on kills from Mikesky and Okafor and net violation on Southern Miss.  
 
In the second set the Owls found themselves in a late hole again, trailing 23-20. However, just like in the opening set Rice was determined to find a way to win and scored five unanswered points on three kills by Humphrey and two from Mikesky to win 25-20.
Rice won the third set in a more convincing fashion by gaining an 8-7 lead and never surrendering it again, winning 25-22. 
 
The Owls will be looking for their third consecutive win on Sunday when they travel to new C-USA foe Western Kentucky, who was picked to finish second in the C-USA Preseason Coaches' Poll and swept Louisiana Tech on Friday. That match is scheduled for a 12 p.m. (CT) start.  
 
-RiceOwls.com-
 

 

 

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