Volleyball Faces Future Rival UTSA In Midweek Showdown

Jillian Humphrey leads C-USA in blocks with 24

Aug. 27, 2012

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Rice Owls (1-2, 0-0 C-USA)
UTSA Roadrunners (2-1, 0-0 WAC)
Aug. 24, 2012 • 7 p.m.
Convocation Center • San Antonio, Texas
Series: Rice leads 12-1
Last Mtg: 9/2/2011 (W, 3-0)

Owls Face Future Rival In Midweek Showdown
The Owls come off of a second-placed finish at the Rice Invitational I to take on future C-USA rival UTSA at the Convocation Center in San Antonio. The Owls face a UTSA team who went 2-1 at the Blue Raider Bash in Murfreesboro, Tenn., where the Roadrunners picked up wins over UAB and Middle Tennessee. Rice is playing the third game of an eight game stretch where every opponent won 18-or-more games in 2011, and six of those sides, including 22-win UTSA, won over 20 games in 2011.

Rice Finishes Second In Rice Invitational I
Rice finished in second in the Rice Invitational I after falling to BYU in what was the de-facto championship match. Nancy Cole and Megan Murphy were named All-Rice Invitational I. Cole had 34 kills (3.4 kills per set) and two double-digit kill matches to be named to the team, while Murphy picked up 113 assists and had a double-double against Arkansas St. (43 ast, 14 digs) to seal her place on the team.

Opponents Running Into Murphy's Law
Setter Megan Murphy contributed in every way possible during the Rice Invitational I. She had at least 34 assists in each of the first three games of the season, but also contributed with 11 kills, two service aces, 22 digs and eight blocks. Murphy was involved via assist, kill, ace or block, in 134 of Rice's 184 total offensive points (72.8%) over the first weekend.

Block Party
Middle blocker Jillian Humphrey has picked up where she left off, after being named Freshman All-Conference USA in 2011. She leads the league with 24 blocks and 2.40 blocks per set, and has two of the four best blocking performances in the league. Her 11 blocks against Arkansas State are the most in C-USA this year, while her eight blocks against Air Force tie for fourth.

Cole and Murphy Named Preseason All-C-USA
Senior middle blocker Nancy Cole and junior setter Megan Murphy were named to the Preseason All-Conference USA Volleyball Team. Cole makes her second consecutive appearance on the Preseason All-C-USA team. Cole is a two-time postseason All-C-USA selection, and was named an All-American by the AVCA last season. Murphy makes her first appearance on the Preseason All-Conference USA. She was named postseason All-C-USA and an AVCA All-American in 2011.

Rice Picked To Finish Second In C-USA
Rice was voted to finish second in C-USA by the league's coaches in the preseason poll. Tulsa was tabbed as the league's favorite, after winning two straight conference championships. The Owls totaled 119 points in the poll, six points ahead of third placed UCF. Rice finished second in Conference USA in 2011, its highest finish in the C-USA regular season. The Owls return six starters from last year's squad which went 18-13, good for the program's fourth straight .500-or-better season.

It's A Hit!
Rice rank second in Conference USA in hitting percentage, after also ranking second in hitting percentage in 2011. The Owls ranked 48th in the nation in hitting percentage. Nancy Cole hit .335 in 2011, which ranked fourth in the league and 71st in the nation.

Future Rivals
Rice faces UTSA for their last non-conference meeting for the foreseeable future, as the two schools become conference rivals in 2013-14, when UTSA joins Conference USA. UTSA is playing in the Western Athletic Conference this season, after leaving the Southland Conference.

UTSA Head Coach Laura Groff was an assistant coach at Texas A&M while Genny Volpe was a player for the Aggies (1990-92)





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