North Texas 3-Rice 1 (PDF Box Score)
DENTON, Texas – The Rice Owls volleyball team saw their season-high eight match win streak come to a close Friday evening, falling in four sets (19-25, 31-29, 19-25, 22-25) at North Texas.
Rice (18-6, 8-2) lost for the first time since their C-USA opening setback at UTEP on Sept. 22 while North Texas (21-2, 8-1) won their ninth consecutive match overall.
“This was a tough match,” Rice head coach Genny Volpe said. “The bottom line is that we weren’t efficient in our execution and North Texas was. Their offense was something we prepared well for but we didn’t execute on our end to properly defend it. They played well and are a very good team. But I felt we could have executed our game plan better and executed the fundamentals stronger. We can, and we will, be better next time we step on the floor.”
Rice hit just .201 as a team while the Mean Green hit at a .273 clip. Freshman Nicole Lennon (14 kills-11 digs) and senior setter Madison McDaniel (47 assists-17 digs) each recorded double-doubles for the Owls in the loss. Senior middle blocker Portia Okafor had another strong offensive performance with 13 kills (.458) along with a team-high five blocks. Sophomore libero Lee Ann Cunningham led all players with 20 digs.
After dropping the opening set 25-19, the Owls played an inspired set two in which they held serve on several North Texas set points before eventually winning 31-29 and tying the match 1-1. However, the Mean Green won 25-19 coming out of the break and then sealed their 10th straight home win with a 25-22 win over the Owls in set four.
The Owls will look to start a new win streak on Sunday when they travel to Charlotte for a 12 p.m. (CT) first serve. That match will be streamed via beIN Connect.