HOUSTON, Texas - The Rice Owls volleyball team continued their home prowess in 2014 with a 3-0 (25-19, 25-16, 25-21) sweep of the UAB Blazers Sunday afternoon at Tudor Fieldhouse.
Rice (18-6, 8-2) kept a stranglehold on third place in C-USA by winning their fifth consecutive home match and improving to 9-2 at Tudor Fieldhouse this season.
The Owls outhit UAB (6-19, 3-7) .384-.168 for the match and had six fewer attack errors (10-16). Rice also outblocked the Blazers, 7-2, and had a solid sideout percentage of 67 percent.
Three Owls recorded double-figure kills, including a game-high 13 from both Andi Bawcum and Leah Mikesky. Bawcum, who was coming off a career-best 22-kill performance against Middle Tennessee on Friday, led all players with a .480 hitting percentage (13-of-25) on the afternoon. Mikesky hit an impressive .407 (13-of-27) and was second on the team with 15 digs to add to her team-leading double-double count of 13. Sophomore Chelsey Harris also chipped in 10 kills while hitting .353.
Freshman Katie Steel capped off a solid weekend with 39 more assists (13.0 per set) following her career-best 56 in her first-ever start on Friday. Seniors Daniela Arenas (17 digs) and Jillian Humphrey (5 blocks) provided the Owls stability on the defensive end.
The Owls pulled away from UAB in the first set by outscoring the Blazers 19-13 after an early 6-6 tie. The Rice defense shined in the set by holding the Blazers to -.029 hitting and forced nine attack errors.
Rice only trailed once in the second set, 1-0, before dominating the rest of the way to take a 2-0 lead into the break with a 25-16 victory. The Owls hit .375 for the set and then followed that up with a clip of .471 in set three. UAB attempted to make a late comeback and force a fourth set but the Owls put an end to the run by scoring the final three points on kills from Mikesky and Bawcum.
Only two more road games remain for Rice this regular season, which will come next weekend in the Sunshine State, beginning with a trip to Miami on Friday for a 5 p.m. (CT) match. The Owls will then play their final regular season tilt at Florida Atlantic on Sunday at 11 a.m. (CT).