July 31, 2014
IRVING, Texas - Rice's volleyball team was picked to place third in Conference USA in 2014, according to a poll of the league's head coaches released on Thursday.
Rice, who went 11-19 last season, is picked to finish behind only reigning C-USA champ UTSA (first) and the newest member of the league, Western Kentucky (second).
"I think the C-USA race is wide open and it's obvious by the preseason All-C-USA team that there is a lot of young talent out there in the conference," Rice head coach Genny Volpe said. "The addition of Western Kentucky to the league is exciting. They traditionally have a very strong team who competes well at a national level and who have won the Sun Belt several times. They will push immediately alongside several other C-USA returning teams, including us. We are just excited to hit the court and get started. We had a strong spring season, and our team worked hard this summer. Our goal is to take it one day at a time and improve each and every day we hit the court. It should be a very exciting season."
Conference USA additionally released its Preseason All-Conference USA squad Thursday afternoon, with sophomore Sara Blasier earning a spot on the 13-player team.
Blasier is coming off a breakthrough redshirt freshman campaign in which she selected to both the C-USA All-Conference Second Team and the All-Freshman Team, recording a team-best 872 assists in 84 sets played.
"It's a nice compliment for Sara to be named to the preseason All-C-USA team alongside all the great talent listed," Volpe said. "She had a strong freshman campaign last year and will be one of our strong returners this season along with some unknown, talented newcomers."
Rice will play its season opener on Aug. 29 when they host UC Davis at 6:30 p.m. as part of the Rice Invitational I Tournament.