By: Kenny Bybee (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Rice 3-Tennessee St. 1 (Box Score)
NASHVILLE, TN – The Rice Owls volleyball team won their second match in as many days with a 3-1 (25-18, 18-25, 25-17, 25-22) victory over the Tennessee State Tigers Saturday evening to run their win streak to seven straight.
Rice (11-7, 3-0) won with a balanced offensive attack in which four Owls tallied 10 or more kills, led by a match-high 16 kills from senior right side hitter Chelsey Harris. Senior Andi Bawcum also registered 13 kills (.375) while Leah Mikesky (10 kills) and Portia Okafor (10 kills) also notched double-figure kills.
Junior setter Madison McDaniel had another monster double-double (44 assists, 18 digs), her team-leading 13th of the season.
“I’m very glad we pulled that out in the fourth set,” Rice head coach Genny Volpe said. “We could have let the score affect us but we didn’t. I thought Andi came through big time in the last set as did Portia. Tennessee State is a very aggressive, attacking team and wouldn’t let up. Also, the environment was loud and very much a home court advantage. I’m glad we competed here today and I believe this experience is something we can build on and learn from.”
Rice outhit the Tigers .255-.157 and had 15 less attack errors (31-16).
The Owls took an early 6-5 lead in the opening set and never trailed the rest of the way, hitting a match-high .410 in the set en route to the 25-18 victory. However, TSU turned the tables in set two by hitting a blistering .510 to even the match 1-1 with a 25-18 win over the Owls.
Rice came out the aggressors out of the break, capturing an 8-1 lead and coasted to a 25-17 win. The Owls’ defense stifled the Tigers to a -.075 hitting percentage in the victory. The fourth set proved to be more of a challenge for the Owls. The Tigers seemed on their way to forcing a fifth set by taking a 13-6 lead over the Owls, but out of a timeout Rice regrouped to outscore TSU 19-9 the rest of the way.
The Owls will look for their eighth consecutive win next Friday when they travel to Boca Raton to face the Florida Atlantic Owls.