Oct. 22, 2010
Houston - SMU, led by Dana Powell's 19 kills, defeated the Rice Owls 3-1 in a hard fought Conference USA volleyball match Friday evening inside Tudor Fieldhouse. Set scores were 25-23, 19-25, 25-21, and 25-16. The Mustangs improve their season record to 17-4 overall and 9-1 in C_USA, while Rice is now 12-10 on the year and 7-3 in league action.
"I thought that our teams were very evenly matched up until the fourth set," commented Rice head coach Genny Volpe. "SMU then made less errors. Our team was focused and well prepared, however, it came down to a few errors that us apart and our passing broke down and that made the difference."
Nancy Cole led Rice with a career-high 18 kills and a .333 hitting percentage. Laurie McNamara was in double-digit kills for the third time this season with 12 kills and a match-high .400 hitting percentage. Cole now has double-digit kills in 13 matches this season.
SMU had 59 kills and a .216 hitting percentage. Kathryn Wilkerson (13) and Courtney Manning (10) also contributed double-digit kills for the Mustangs.
SMU started the match strong with an early 8-2 lead. The Owls responded by outscoring the Mustangs 21 to 16 to be down 24-23, but couldn't close the door. Laurie McNamara, Nancy Cole, and Ashleigh McCord led the Rice attack by hitting 4 kills each. Dana Powell had a set-high 6 kills for SMU.
Each team had 14 kills in the first set, but SMU benefited from three Rice service errors and dug up 19 digs to Rice's 12 digs.
The Owls equalized the match with a 25-19 win in set two. Rice was behind 12-9 before getting its first lead of the set that it would not relinquish at 15-14 on a kill by freshman Mariah Riddlesprigger. Cole once again led Rice with 6 kills and Powell led SMU with 6 kills of her own.
Rice tallied 18 kills and a .286 hitting percentage to SMU's 11 kills (.135). The Owls also dug up 17 digs, while the Mustangs managed 13 digs, down from their 19 digs in set one.
Rice and SMU slugged it out point for point, but it was the Mustangs who won round three 25-21. SMU pulled away from a 19-19 tie to secure the final six points for the win. Powell tallied 6 kills to lead all hitters for SMU, while Riddlesprigger and Cole, who each had 4 kills, led the Owls.
SMU scored 21 kills in set three to Rice's 14 and hit .302, while the Owls hit .213.
The Mustangs snapped a 14-14 tie and pulled away late for a 25-16 win in set four. SMU's Jessica Oliver had a set-high 5 kills, while Cole had 4 kills to lead the Owls. Rice only tallied 9 kills in the fourth set to SMU's 13.