Oct. 28, 2011
El Paso, Texas - Rice middle blocker Nancy Cole pounded a match-high 15 kills to lead the Owls to a 3-0 Conference USA volleyball sweep at UTEP Friday evening.
The victory by Rice (13-10, 8-4) completes a season sweep over the Miners and is the 12th straight Rice win over UTEP (16-9, 6-6) as well. Set scores were 25-21, 25-22, and 25-22. Rice is also now tied for third in C-USA with UAB and sit behind Tulsa (first) and Houston (second).
Cole was phenomenal offensively with only two hitting errors in 30 attacks for a .433 hitting percentage. The junior was also excellent defensively as she had 2 block solos and assisted on five other blocks. Jillian Humphrey, a freshman middle blocker, also had 7 block assists, and setter Megan Murphy had 6 block assists in addition to 28 assists.
All told, the Owls had 14 team blocks, which is a team season-high for a three-set match. That total is also two shy of the season-high of 16 blocks which occurred in the Owls 3-2 win over Southern Miss back on Sept. 24.
"Our middles had a great match and Nancy Cole showed why she is one of the most dominating players in the league," stated Rice Owl head coach Genny Volpe. "Megan Murphy did a great job running a quick offense in transition."
Murphy nearly had a triple double as she registered 9 kills and 7 digs. Laurie McNamara had 8 kills and a .269 hitting percentage.
Megan White was again solid on defense with a match-high 16 digs. White, a senior, now has 996 career digs heading into Sunday's match at UCF in Orlando, Fla. She is poised to crack the Owls' career top 10 list, needing 41 digs to surpass Klara Zelinka (1997-2000) for 10th on the chart.
UTEP had three Miners in double-digit digs with Xitali Herrera with 12, Bridget ogan (11), and Jeane Horton (10). Both squads had 42 kills, but UTEP only had 5 team blocks on the night.
UCF (14-9, 6-6), the Owls next opponent, defeated Houston (16-6, 9-3) 3-2 on Friday. The Knights and the Owls play at noon (CT) on Sunday.