Nov. 7, 2013Photo Gallery
HOUSTON, Texas - The Rice Owls volleyball team earned their season-high third consecutive victory with a 3-0 straight-set (25-10, 25-19, 25-20) victory over Southland Conference foe Houston Baptist Thursday evening at Sharp Gym.
The road victory for Rice (9-17, 5-6) was their third straight and fourth of the season as they improved to 7-0 all-time against the Huskies (12-15, 7-7).
Chelsey Harris led the Owls with 12 kills followed by seven from Jillian Humphrey while Megan Murphy recorded 31 assists. Three Owls finished in double-figures in digs, led by 12 a piece from both Daniela Arenas and Mariah Riddlesprigger.
Rice came out in dominant fashion in the opening set, winning 25-10 with a team hitting percentage of .500, compared to -0.40 from the Huskies. Humphrey led the Owls with five kills, followed by four from Harris. The Owls never trailed after capturing a 2-1 lead, closing on a 15-3 run.
In set two the Owls jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead before the Huskies fought back to pull within 16-14. From that point on however the Owls closed on a 9-5 run to win the set 25-19 and take a demanding 2-0 lead in the match.
The Owls struggled a bit in set three, hitting just .195 to keep the Huskies close. However, eight HBU attack errors helped the Owls seal the deal and leave with a victory.
Thursday's match took on a special significance for both schools with the proceeds benefiting the Tolar Tomorrow Fund. Barbara Tolar, HBU's assistant director of compliance and scholarships for the past six years, worked 35 years (1971-2006) in the Rice Athletics Department. Barbara was married to fellow Northwestern State graduate, the late Charlie "The Human Bowling Ball" Tolar, who played running back for the Houston Oilers from 1960-1966, winning two AFL titles (1960, 1961) and being named to the Pro Bowl in 1961 and 1962.
Last year, the Tolar's daughter, Sharon, lost her battle with cancer on Oct. 1, and was survived by her daughter, Shelby; her sisters, Debbie and Brenda and their families; as well as Barbara, who was recognized at intermission.
The Owls will return home on Sunday to face Tulane at 1 p.m. in Rice's second to last home game of the season.