Nov. 11, 2012
DALLAS, Texas- Rice's volleyball team clinched sole possession of second place in C-USA by defeating SMU 3-1 at Moody Coliseum on Sunday afternoon. The Owls finish in sole possession in second for the first time in their eight year tenure in C-USA, after finishing tied for second place in 2011.
"It was definitely an up-and-down match. We started out very strong, very focused, and we had a letdown in game two, so we tried to reboot in the locker room," said Rice head Coach Genny Volpe.
"I thought that SMU's right side hitter, Caroline Young, was really doing some damage to us, and it took a long time for us to adjust to that, but we finally did and we used a lot of people to contribute today," added Volpe.
The Owls (19-11, 12-4 C-USA) are the second seed in the 2012 C-USA Championship next week. SMU (10-18, 7-9 C-USA) enters the C-USA Championship as the eighth and final seed.
Nancy Cole led Rice with 11 kills, her ninth 10+ kill performance in C-USA play. Cole hit .391 on the afternoon.
Jillian Humphrey added in 10 kills off of .350 attacking efficiency and seven blocks. She has 12 performances of five-or-more blocks on the season.
"I think that we were really pumped because we had sole possession of second place in our grasp, and we just wanted to clinch it," said Humphrey. "SMU is really good at the net, and we just wanted to show them that we're the better team at the net."
Reigning C-USA Setter of the Week Megan Murphy had six kills and 43 assists, in addition to nine digs. Murphy had 30+ assists in all 16 C-USA matches and had 40+ assists in nine C-USA matches.
The Owls came out with a 25-21 victory in the first set, holding the Mustangs to .095 hitting. Arenas had eight digs in the first set.
The Mustangs took the second set 25-21 with a .263 hitting performance. Laurie McNamara and Humphrey each had four kills in the second set apiece.
Rice broke a set point in the third set, taking the last three points of the set to win 26-24.
The Owls rallied back from a 20-12 deficit in the fourth set to win the set 25-23 and clinch the match.
The Owls begin the C-USA Championship on Friday, November 16, taking on No. 7 seed Houston at 5 p.m. in Tulsa, Okla.