Nov. 5, 2011
Houston - Rice's Nancy Cole and Laurie McNamara led the Owls with 16 and 11 kills respectively to give Rice a 3-0 Conference USA volleyball win over the visiting East Carolina Pirates Saturday night in Tudor Fieldhouse.
Set scores were 25-9, 25-16, and 25-21. Rice is now 14-11 on the season and 9-5 in C-USA, while ECU drops to 2-21 and 0-14 in league action.
"I was really proud of our start, as we have not been the team to just take over a match in the very first set we usually start out at the same pace of the other team," stated Owl head coach Genny Volpe. "We had a lot of team goals they wanted to achieve as a team, statistically, and they achieved pretty much all of them. As this conference race keeps getting tighter and tighter with a lot of movement going on, we concentrate on the fact that we can't control what the other teams are doing, but we can control what we are doing. The team today showed that it's ready to take to the next level."
Statistically, Rice smothered the Pirates in kills (49 to 27), hitting percentage (.398 to .163), digs (39 to 26) and in assists (46 to 26).
ECU was led by Britney Roper's 8 kills and .421 hitting percentage.
Rice Dominates Set One
The Owls took control of set one early with a 6-2 lead and increased the margin to 13-7, which saw ECU call a timeout. Rice kept up the pressure by forging a 22-9 lead en route to a 25-9 win. The Owls outscored the Pirates 12 to 2 to finish the set.
Rice hit a remarkable .533 with 17 kills, while ECU managed a .107 hitting percentage with only 7 kills. Nancy Cole did the bulk of the damage for the Owls with 8 kills as setter Megan Murphy had 12 assists.
Owls Up 2-0
The second set was much closer as ECU held a 10-9 lead before the Owls went on a 5-1 mini-run for a 14-11 margin. From that point, Rice outscored ECU 11 to 5 for a 2-0 match lead.
Rice was again strong at the net with an impressive .485 hitting percentage and 20 kills as Laurie McNamara led the charge with 6 kills. Murphy was solid for Rice in setting with 16 assists. The Pirates improved their hitting percentage to .250 with 11 kills.
Three's A Charm
The Owls were up 10-9, when they proceeded to distance themselves from ECU with a 3-0 run for a 12-9 lead. The Pirates then got to within one at 14-13, but Rice rallied to surge ahead 18-14. Rice then closed out the set for a 25-21 win.
Rice only hit .167 in the decisive set with 12 kills, while ECU hit .115 with 9 kills. Cole led the Owls with 4 kills.
Sunday, Sunday, Sunday
East Carolina and the Owls meet again on Sunday, November 6 for a 2 p.m. match in Tudor Fieldhouse.