Rice 3-Charlotte 1 (PDF Box Score)
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Three Rice Owls notched double-doubles in a 3-1 (26-28, 26-24, 25-16, 30-28) road victory at Charlotte Sunday afternoon at Halton Arena.
Rice (19-6, 9-2) bounced back from a loss at North Texas on Friday by limiting the 49ers (17-9, 4-6) to just a .157 hitting percentage for the match, recording 17.0 team blocks in the process.
“This was another battle today against a strong defensive team,” Rice head coach Genny Volpe said. “We managed to out-block them, which I’m sure doesn’t happen to them very often. That helped us slow down their offense and energize our side. This was a very important win on the road that we knew would be tough. I’m glad we battled and found a way to close it out in four sets.”
Rice freshman outside hitter Nicole Lennon led all players with 21 kills and collected 12 digs for her team-leading 13th double-double of the season. It marked the sixth time this season that the Katy, Texas native eclipsed 20 or more kills and the first time in C-USA play.
Senior setter Madison McDaniel picked up her 11th double-double of the season, dishing out a season-high 61 assists to go along with 16 digs. Sophomore middle blocker Grace Morgan also joined the double-double party with her third double-double in her past four matches, pouring in 17 kills and 10 blocks. Also anchoring the defense was sophomore libero Lee Ann Cunningham, who had a team-high 23 digs.
In the opening set the Owls erased a 23-17 deficit with a 7-0 run, taking a 24-23 lead on a kill from Muse. However, Charlotte held twice on set point before breaking a 26-26 tie with consecutive points to win 28-26. The two teams played a competitive second set that saw 11 ties but this time it was Rice that broke through, tying the match 1-1 with a 26-24 victory.
Rice dominated the third set out of the break, using a 15-6 run to wipe out a 10-7 deficit. The Owls hit .263 in the game while limiting the 49ers to a .032 clip. The Owls won a hard-fought, match-clinching fourth set 30-28. Kassidy Muse posted the Owls final two points on kills.
The Owls return to Houston for their final two home matches of the regular season next weekend, beginning Friday with a showdown against WKU at 6 p.m. The Lady Toppers (25-2, 11-0) will enter Friday on a 21-match win streak and have lost just one set in their last 11 matches. Then on Sunday, the Owls will host Southern Miss at 1 p.m. on Senior Day.