By: Kenny Bybee (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Rice 3-North Texas 1 (PDF Box Score)
HOUSTON - Junior setter Madison McDaniel became the 10th player in school history to record 2,000 career assists and in the process the Rice Owls volleyball team defeated the North Texas Mean Green in four sets (25-16, 25-21, 24-26, 25-15) Friday evening at Tudor Fieldhouse.
Rice (16-9, 8-2) won their eighth consecutive home match by outhitting North Texas (11-13, 5-4) .287-.131, which included 33 Mean Green errors, the second-most by an Owls' opponent this season.
Seniors Chelsey Harris (13 kills-.323) and Leah Mikesky (13 kills, 19 digs) led the Owls offensively while McKay Kyle had a highly efficient offensive effort in the middle with 12 kills while hitting .450. McDaniel, who ranks 10th on the Rice all-time assists leaderboard (2,010 assists), totaled 47 assists on Friday and joined the 2,000-assists club in the fourth set.
"We know North Texas is a very good team and they were off their game in the first set," Rice head coach Genny Volpe said. "I think we put a lot of pressure on their offense with our block because they like to play fast. I was really pleased with how they executed the game plan. I was disappointed in the run of errors we had in the third set and we talked about it afterwards and they know it's something that we can't let happen in the future."
Rice took advantage of a slow offensive start by the Mean Green in the opening set, a frame in which North Texas hit .000 and had 14 errors. The Owls opened the match on a 7-0 run, all without a kill, and coasted to a 25-16 victory.
That momentum carried into set two where the Owls posted a .438 attack percentage and four players had three or more kills, led by four strikes from Kyle. McDaniel picked up 15 assists in the second set alone and the Owls won 25-21.
Rice looked primed to record their 11th sweep of the season but North Texas erased a 24-21 deficit by scoring five unanswered points to steal the frame 26-24.
The Owls quickly regrouped in set four and put together their best offensive frame of the night, recording 15 kills on 26 attacks (.500) led by five kills from Mikesky, en route to a 25-15 match-clinching win.
Rice will close out their homestand Sunday afternoon when they host Charlotte (7-18, 1-8) at 1 p.m.