April 7, 2014
HOUSTON, Texas - The Rice Owls volleyball team capped off a stellar weekend of spring action this past Saturday, going a combined 4-0 against Louisiana-Lafayette, SMU, Texas and Baylor.
Rice began the day with a 25-21, 25-19 victory over the Ragin Cajuns before rallying to defeat SMU in three sets (22-25, 25-11, 15-8). The Owls then knocked off Texas (25-23, 17-25, 16-14) before closing the F.A.S.T. Tournament with a 25-21, 25-21 win over Baylor.
"I was very proud of our fight this past weekend," Rice head volleyball coach Genny Volpe said. "We showed a lot of grit and heart because it was a very long day of volleyball and they were exhausted. They played their hearts out and we came out on top. The two matches where I saw the most improvement in our mental game were the SMU match and the Texas match. We were behind and had to fight back, and we did. That was fun to see. We were down 9-14 in the third set against Texas, and Sara went back to serve and never let them get the ball back. She served tough and the team rallied behind it. To win in that situation was special, no matter who you are playing against, much less a national power like UT."
Volpe credited an improved serving attack and sees promise in her team moving forward.
"I thought the most improved skill from the beginning of the tournament to the end was our serving. We started out so complacent with our serving, I knew that would not work and I encouraged the team to be aggressive, because that is the only way we are going to compete and win against top teams. They embraced that. We utilized several different lineups and each one had its own strengths and weaknesses, but in each scenario the team showed confidence and poise. To me, that is what set us apart from our opponents and allowed us to succeed."
The Owls, who have a record of 14-4 will next close out their spring season on Saturday, April 19 at the Lone Star Classic College Tournament at the Dallas Convention Center.