Nov. 10, 2013
HOUSTON, Texas - The Rice Owls volleyball team battled against one of C-USA's best Sunday afternoon, but after taking the opening set the Tulane Green Wave proved to be too much in a 3-1 loss for the Owls at Tudor Fieldhouse.
Rice (9-18, 5-7) had their three-game win streak snapped while Tulane (24-3, 10-2) moved into a first place tie with UTSA.
Jillian Humphrey led the Owls with 14 kills, followed by 11 from Mariah Riddlesprigger. Sara Blasier returned to the starting lineup and recorded 47 assists, marking the ninth time this season she recorded 40 or more assists in a match and the fourth straight. Blasier also was tied for the team-leader with 16 digs for her sixth double-double of the year. Daniela Arenas also finished with 16 digs in the loss.
Tulane's Cori Martone (25 kills) and Tea Juric (24 kills) proved to be a dynamic duo for the Green Wave, combining for 49 of Tulane's 68 kills.
Rice stormed back from an 18-13 deficit in the opening set by outscoring the Green Wave 12-5 for a 25-23 victory. Over that stretch the Owls had six blocks assists for points and two kills from Whitlock. The Owls had a hitting percentage of .341 (and just two errors) compared to just .289 from Tulane. Blasier assisted on 16 points and had a team-best five digs while Chelsey Harris had five kills and a team-best 6.5 points.
In set two the Owls nearly pulled off a late comeback again, but fell 25-22. Rice had trailed 22-17 before rallying to cut the deficit to 23-22 before the Green Wave scored the next two points. The Owls were unable to overcome a .024 hitting percentage and committed 11 attack errors.
Tulane then took the swing match, 25-19 in a third set that saw 10 ties. Martone led the Green Wave with eight kills while Juric contributed seven more.
The Owls nearly pulled off a comeback in the final set and even took a 23-22 lead following a kill from Riddlesprigger. After the two teams tied on four different occasions over the next couple of points, it was Tulane that scored the final on kills from Juric and Martone.
Rice will next play their final regular season road contest of the year on Friday, Nov. 15 when they travel to UAB for a 7 p.m. match. The Owls will then host Louisiana Tech on Sunday, Nov. 17 on Senior Day at 1 p.m.