HOUSTON - The Rice Owls volleyball team cruised to a 3-0 sweep (25-10, 25-14, 25-20) of the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders Friday evening at Tudor Fieldhouse, hitting a season-high .426 as a team in the process.
Rice (12-5, 2-1) had five players record five or more kills, including a match-high 10 from sophomore middle blocker Grace Morgan. Along with hitting .600 (10-of-15) for the match, Morgan notched a match-high six blocks. Freshman outside hitter Nicole Lennon added an additional eight kills (.389), while senior middle blocker Portia Okafor and freshman outside hitter Kassidy Muse chipped in five kills apiece. Okafor also added two blocks, and became just the seventh Owl in school history to reach 400 career blocks.
"I was really pleased with how we came out," Rice head coach Genny Volpe said. "It was pretty much a dominating first set on our side. We served very aggressively and took them out of system. We knew they had some solid attackers on their team, and as we saw a little bit in the third set they can cause problems. We had great energy and focus and I was really proud of them for that."
Rice never trailed in the opening frame and set the tone for the night by jumping out to a 13-1 lead before winning 25-10. In set two the Owls hit .526 as a team and won 25-14 by limiting Middle Tennessee (5-12, 0-3) to just a .053 hitting percentage. Rice trailed MT 8-6 in set three but used a 14-5 run to build a 19-13 advantage and never look back, sealing the match with a 25-20 victory.
The Owls will have an off day on Sunday and will return to action next weekend when they host Florida Atlantic on Oct. 6 (6 p.m.) and FIU on Oct. 8 (1 p.m.)