By: Kenny Bybee (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Rice 3-UAB 0 (PDF Box Score)
Rice (14-8, 6-1) remained in second place in Conference USA all by their lonesome by outhitting the Blazers (9-14, 2-6) .256-.148 and getting a balanced offensive attack. Rice seniors Chelsey Harris (.391) and Leah Mikesky (.222) led all players with 11 kills apiece while McKay Kyle continued her recent surge with 10 kills (.467) and a team-high five blocks.
Junior setter Madison McDaniel notched her C-USA leading 15th double-double of the season with 38 assists (12.6 aps) and 13 digs while also contributing four blocks. Freshman libero Lee Ann Cunningham led the Rice defensive charge with a team-high 14 digs.
"It was really important for us to have a good showing today and for the most part I think we did," Rice head coach Genny Volpe said. "Each game we started out a little slow so that was probably the only thing I'd like to see cleaned up. But for the bulk of the match we played pretty clean volleyball."
Mikesky and Kyle got the Owls off to a fast start in the opening set with 10 combined kills as Rice broke open an 11-11 tie with a 5-0 run to go up 16-11 and eventually win 25-17.
Rice posted a 75 percent sideout percentage in set two and Harris posted an additional four kills while McDaniel dished out 11 assists. The Owls took advantage of nine UAB attack errors and had 5.0 team blocks in a 25-20 victory.
In set three Harris contributed six kills and Cunningham had 10 of her 14 digs. UAB grabbed an initial 5-2 lead in the frame but Rice rallied to build a 23-16 advantage. The Blazers trimmed that margin to 23-21 but the Owls closed out the sweep following a UAB service error and a Mikesky kill.
The Owls will next hit the road for a pair of C-USA matches beginning next Friday, Oct. 21 at UTSA before traveling west to El Paso to take on the Miners on Sunday at 1 p.m. (CT).