By: Kenny Bybee (email@example.com)
Rice 3-FIU 0 (PDF Box Score)
MIAMI, FL – The Rice Owls volleyball team pushed their season-high win streak to eight consecutive matches with a 3-0 sweep (25-22, 25-23, 26-24) at FIU Sunday afternoon.
Rice (12-7, 4-0) remained perfect in C-USA play despite hitting just .194 as a team. Senior right side hitter Chelsey Harris led the Owls with 11 kills while junior setter Madison McDaniel paced the offense with 29 assists. Defensively Rice limited FIU (7-11, 1-3) to a .240 hitting percentage and freshman libero Lee Ann Cunningham collected a match-high 17 digs.
“We were very fortunate to come out with a victory today much less a sweep,” Rice head coach Genny Volpe said. “We didn’t execute our offense at a very high level today. However, I am impressed with our team’s composure in set three. FIU did make some errors to help us out but we took advantage of the opportunities we were given and our serving helped us out as well. We will need to be much sharper next time we hit the court.”
Rice hit just .176 in the opening frame and despite 11 ties and five lead changes still found a way to win 25-22. The Owls broke a 19-19 tie with a mini 6-3 run which included kills from four different players.
In the Owls’ 25-23 set two victory Rice rallied from a 23-22 deficit to score the game’s final three points on a kill from Harris and back-to-back kills from junior middle blocker Portia Okafor.
FIU controlled much of the third set and took a lead as large as 17-13 and 21-19. However, the Owls were not to be denied, rallying behind a few FIU errors and clinching the team’s eighth sweep of the year.
The Owls will complete their four-match road trip on Tuesday morning when they travel to Boca Raton to play their rescheduled match against Florida Atlantic (8-10, 3-1) at 11 a.m. (CT).