Owls Crush Memphis 3-0 in Volleyball

Nancy Cole.

Oct. 21, 2011

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Houston - Nancy Cole had 12 kills, including six in the third set, to lead Rice to a 3-0 sweep over visiting Memphis in a Conference USA volleyball match Friday night in Tudor Fieldhouse.

Set scores were 25-19, 25-17, and 25-14. The victory moves Rice's record to 12-9 overall and 7-3 in C-USA, while the Tigers fall to 15-8 on the season and 4-6 in league action.

"It was nice to see all the hard work we've been doing in practice come to fruition," stated Rice head coach Genny Volpe. "We've been getting after the team to stay in the play and stay focus and understanding, who we are. And, we are a balanced team with a lot of weapons."

Rice had a trio of weapons that did the majority of the damage offensively this evening in Cole, Jillian Humphrey, and Lizzy Bache. Cole hit .524 for the night and received help from McNamara (9 kills), Humphrey (7 kills and 6 blocks), and Bache added 8 kills in 13 attacks for a .615 hitting percentage.

Megan Murphy had 33 assists for Rice in directing the balanced offense and Megan White dug up a match-high 15 digs and Mariah Riddlesprigger had 11 digs.

"We showed really good composure tonight when they were stressing us with their serves," continued Volpe. "We played solid defense and people weren't waiting for someone to play the ball - we were fighting for the ball, we were like almost fight each other to play the ball and that's something we've really been working on. I'm really proud of the team and any 3-0 win in conference is a good one, especially against a team that has had the success that Memphis has had."

Memphis' Altrese Hawkins had 10 kills to lead the Tigers.

Owls Control Set One
Rice started the match with an early 5-2 lead and increased it to 13-8 by controlling the tempo of the set, which necessitated a Memphis timeout. The Owls finished as strong as they stared in winning 25-19.

Rice hit .314 with 14 kills and was led by Jillian Humphrey and Laurie McNamara who had 4 kills apiece. Memphis tallied 15 kills, but only hit .238 as the Owls registered 22 digs. Marija Jovanovic posted 6 kills for Memphis.

Rice Up 2-0
The Owls once again held the advantage early in the set by a 6-2 margin and after a solo block by Humphrey, the Owls led 10-5 and the Tigers called timeout. Rice then upped it to 17-6, which caused Memphis to call another timeout.

The Tigers' Altrese Hawkins then pounded 2 kills and had a block solo to score three unanswered points for Memphis to make it 17-9. But, Rice proved to be too powerful in closing out the set by a 25-17 score.

For set two, Rice out hit the Tigers 15 to 10 in kills and .333 to .222 in hitting percentage. Freshman Lizzy Bache led the Rice attack with 6 kills, while Hawkins had 4 for the Tigers.

Owls Cruise in Set Three
Rice continued its strong play from the outset with an early 5-0 lead that it increased to a commanding 14-5 margin. Rice then outscored the Tigers 6 to 4 for a 20-0 lead.

In the third set, Rice had 12 kills and a .250 hitting percentage, while Memphis struggled with 7 kills and a -.054 hitting percentage. Nancy Cole led the Owls with 6 kills in 8 attacks for a .625 hitting percentage.

Rice plays at UAB (17-5, 7-3), which lost Friday night 3-1 at Houston, on Sunday in Birmingham, Ala. at 1 p.m.





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