Oct. 24, 2010
Houston-- Sunday's thrilling Conference USA volleyball match featured two of the league's hardest hitters on two of C-USA's best teams in Tulsa's Tyler Henderson and Rice's Ashleigh McCord. Though McCord may have won the individual slug fest with a match-high18 kills to Henderson's 15 kills, it was TU that won the close bout 3-0 (25-15, 31-29, 30-28) inside Tudor Fieldhouse.
The loss drops Rice to 12-11 on the season and 7-4 in C-USA, while Tulsa remains undefeated in conference action at 11-0 and 21-2 overall. Tulsa has now extended its winning streak to 20 matches, longest in the nation.
"If we had started the match with the way we played in sets two and three it might have been a different outcome," stated Rice head coach Genny Volpe. "Tulsa is a very good team and are in first place in the conference for a reason. We need to learn how to finish sets and if we keep up the way we played in the last two sets we'll win a lot of our remaining matches."
Rice's Nancy Cole had 12 kills and one block solo with five block assists as the Owls tallied 10 team blocks to the Golden Hurricane's 4. The Owls had 46 kills and a .186 hitting percentage to TU's 55 kills (.271).
Owl setter Meredith Schamun posted 39 assists and Rice libéro dug up a match-high 20 digs.
Henderson entered the match averaging 6.61 kills per set, but Rice somewhat held her in check as she still averaged 5.00 kills Sunday afternoon. Also in double-digits for Tulsa were Diana Silva with 12 kills and Elizabeth Kale tallied 11 kills.
Tulsa started strong with by forging a 9-1 lead and cruised to a 25-15 as Rice committed an uncharacteristic 12 hitting errors. Tulsa had 13 kills and was led by Tyler Henderson's 6 kills. Nancy Cole led the Owls with 4 kills.
Like all good teams do, Rice came back and played much better from the start in set two taking an early 5-2 lead. The two squads battled point for point as Tulsa went ahead 22-19. The Owls then scored two points to make it 22-21 before a Tulsa timeout. Back-to-back smashes by the Owls' Ashleigh McCord gave Rice a 25-24 lead. After long rallies and several set points by both sides, TU secured the final two points for a 31-29 win and a 2-0 lead in the match.
Rice, in set two, tallied 20 kills with a .300 hitting percentage to Tulsa's 19 kills (.222). McCord led all hitters with 8 kills in the set and a .471 attack percentage. Dana Silva led TU with 6 kills. Rice also had 6 blocks for the set that featured 12 ties and eight lead changes.
In set three, TU snapped a 9-9 tie by going in front 15-13, but Rice again rallied and after two kills by Cole were ahead 19-17 after it was tied at 17-17. Three kills by McCord put the Owls up 22-20 and Rice had set point at 24-22 after a Cole kill. But Tulsa was able to tie it at 24-24 and the league's heavy hitters traded points until the Golden Hurricane snagged the final two points for a 30-28 set three victory. McCord smacked an astonishing 9 kills in the third set.
Rice goes on the road next weekend when it plays at East Carolina (Oct. 29) and at Marshall (Oct. 31).