Oct. 21, 2012
EL PASO, Texas- Rice notched its third straight win, and its 11th win in its past 13 matches, as it downed UTEP 3-2 in Memorial Gym. Nancy Cole led the Owls with a season-high 21 kills.
"It was a great win today, no doubt," said Rice Head Coach Genny Volpe. "We struggled in the first two sets with our attacking efficiency, which is usually our strong suit, but the second set was pivotal."
"Our fight and focuse carried us through and for that I am very proud of our team. UTEP definitely attacked some weaknesses and stressed us, but this team is finding a way to win," added Volpe.
The Owls (16-9, 9-2 C-USA) took the regular season series from the Miners (12-11, 6-5 C-USA) with the win Sunday afternoon. Rice, currently in second place in C-USA, moves within a half-game of Tulsa for the league lead with the win.
Rice has clinched its fifth straight .500-or-better season, and its seventh overall under head coach Genny Volpe.
Cole posted a season-high 21 kills, reaching double digits for the ninth straight match and 10th time in 11 C-USA matches. She hit .417 (21K-6E-36TA) marking her third straight match over .400. The senior from Duncan College passed Anna Epperson for 11th on Rice's all-time kills list, and has 1,204 kills for her career.
Megan Murphy posted 53 assists, her seventh 50+ assist match of the season. She has 30+ assists for the 13th straight match. She narrowly missed her 11th double double of the season with nine digs.
Jillian Humphrey reached double digits with 13 kills off of .300 (13K-4E-30TA) hitting. She scored 10+ points for the 11th time in her past 13 matches.
Mariah Riddlesprigger led the Owls with 14 digs, and has reached double digits in eight of her last nine matches. Daniela Arenas (12), Noelle Whitlock (10) and Kimberly Vaio (10) also reached double figures in digs.
The Owls dropped the first set 25-20 despite receiving three kills from three different Owls.
Rice came back to take the second set 31-29, fighting back from a 21-17 deficit and breaking five set points before consecutive kills by Cole and Humphrey won the set for Rice. The second set featured 15 tie scores and five lead changes.
Rice took set three 25-13, hitting .342 to down the Miners in the set.
UTEP came back to take the fourth set 25-19.
Rice took the tiebreaker set 15-11, taking six of the last seven points to win the match. Cole posted six kills in the final set.
The Owls return to Houston on Friday, October 26, to take on their cross-town rivals, the Houston Cougars in the Athletics/Alumni Center on the campus of U of H at 5 p.m. Rice returns to Tudor Fieldhouse on Friday, November 2 as Southern Miss visits at 7 p.m.