Oct. 11, 2013
HOUSTON - Chelsey Harris notched a new season high in kills for the second-straight match to lead Rice University volleyball past Marshall in four sets, 20-25, 25-14, 25-23 and 25-16, on Friday night at Tudor Fieldhouse. The freshman finished the match with 17 kills, topping the 15 she posted on Sunday at Southern Miss.
The Owls (5-14, 2-3 C-USA) bounced back from a setback in the opening set to win the next three to deal the Thundering Herd (9-11, 3-2) its second Conference USA loss of the season.
Rice hit a monstrous .450 in the match, topping its previous season best of .305, which it set in its last outing at Southern Miss. Though the Owls were held without a block in the first three sets, the squad swatted five in the deciding frame.
Kimberly Vaio also notched 11 kills and added four assists. Sara Blasier collected 53 of Rice's 59 assists and notched three blocks. Lizzy Bache also combined on three blocks and added seven kills and all three Rice aces.
Sacha Byous-McConnell led Marshall with 12 kills and an .857 hitting percentage. The visitors notched a .254 hitting mark on the night with five blocks and one ace.
In the first set, Marshall took a four-point lead before Rice came back to tie and eventually take a narrow lead at 17-16 behind four Harris kills. The Thundering Herd then rallied to regain the advantage with four-straight points and held on for a 25-20 win thanks largely to a .533 hitting percentage in the set (17 kills, 1 error).
The second set was a different story as Rice broke open a 5-5 tie with a 14-5 run, claiming an insurmountable 19-10 advantage. Harris again led the offense, tacking on seven more kills on just seven attacks as the Owls ran away with a 25-14 win to knot the match.
Despite the Herd's best efforts, Rice maintained momentum in the third set with a 25-23 win. The Owls hit .500 in the stanza, led by Noelle Whitlock's five kills on six attacks. Though Rice never trailed in the set, Marshall rallied back from five points down early in the frame to tie at 14-14 and never fell more than three points down after that point.
The fourth set began as a nail-biter as the teams tied 10 times early on and as late as 16-16 before Rice broke it open with nine-straight points to win the match behind strong serving by Arenas.
Rice returns to action on Sunday at 1 p.m. when Charlotte visits Tudor Fieldhouse. The match is the Owls' annual Dig Pink match. Visit RiceOwls.com for more information on how to support Rice Volleyball and this important cause.
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