Volleyball Takes On Tough Opposition In Relocated Tiger Classic

Megan Murphy leads C-USA in assists

Aug. 29, 2012

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Rice Takes On Tough Opposition In Relocated Tiger Classic
Rice continues its stretch of eight games against 18+ win teams from a year ago with three volleyball powerhouses coming to Fox Gym on the Rice campus for a relocated Tiger Invitational. No. 7 Purdue becomes the second Top 10 team to visit Rice in as many years, and No. 12 Washington gives Rice back-to-back games against ranked opposition. The Owls bounced back to take a 3-1 victory over UTSA in its last game, receiving double-doubles from Mariah Riddlesprigger and Megan Murphy.

Rice To Host Tiger Invitational
In anticipation of Tropical Storm Isaac's arrival to the gulf coast region, the Tiger Invitational, scheduled to take place in Baton Rouge, La. From Aug. 31-Sept. 1, has moved to Rice University's Fox Gymnasium. Fox Gymnasium is located in the Youngkin Center on Rice's campus. Rice last played in Fox Gymnasium in 2008, with its last game in Fox Gym a 3-1 victory over TCU. Limited seating and standing room is available for $5.00 cash at the door. Fans should enter the double doors in the Youngkin Center, located adjacent to Tudor Fieldhouse, and turn right to Fox Gym.

Hurricane Seasons
Rice and LSU are no strangers to cancelled or relocated matches due to hurricanes, especially against each other.

In 2004, Hurricane Frances forced the cancellations of several tournaments to be played in Florida. Rice was scheduled to play at Miami (Fla.), and LSU was scheduled to play at UCF. Schedules were quickly rearranged to set up the Hurricane Frances Invitational in Baton Rouge, which featured LSU, Rice and UCF, and a single game between LSU and Rice in Houston. Rice defeated UCF and lost to LSU in Baton Rouge, but avenged the loss to LSU with a win in Houston.

In 2005, Rice opened its C-USA season in a road match against Tulane, in College Station, Texas, after the Green Wave were forced out of New Orleans due to Hurricane Katrina. The Owls had three matches postponed due to Hurricane Rita, which matches against UAB and Houston rescheduled and a match against Memphis cancelled.

In 2008, Hurricane Gustav forced the cancellation of Rice's proposed trip to the Tiger Classic in Baton Rouge. The Owls replaced the Tiger Classic with the Baylor Classic, and went 2-1 in Waco, with only a loss to the Bears. One week later, Hurricane Ike forced the cancellation of the Stephen F. Austin Ladyjack Classic.

Tough Teams At Rice
Rice is hosting a top 10 team, No. 7 Purdue, for the second time in as many years. The Owls fell 3-0 to No. 6 Stanford in 2011. In addition, No. 12 Washington comes to South Main to play Rice, giving the Owls two Top 25 opponents in back-to-back home matches. The last time the Owls defeated a Top 25 team was November 27, 2009 at home against LSU.

Fox News: We Report, You Decide
Rice is 18-11 in Fox Gym since 2007, when the Owls were forced to relocate there due to the Autry Court/Tudor Fieldhouse renovations. Rice is 8-1 in its last nine games at Fox Gym, including four straight victories, the last of which was a 3-1 win over TCU on Nov. 28, 2008.

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 has contributed in every way possible. She has had at least 34 assists in each of the first four games of the season, and leads Conference USA in assists. She also contributed with 18 kills, two service aces, 33 digs and 10 blocks. She has two double-doubles on the season, reaching that mark against Arkansas State (Aug. 25) and UTSA (Aug. 28). In the Rice Invitational I, Murphy was involved via assist, kill, ace or block, in 134 of Rice's 184 total offensive points (72.8%).

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 28 blocks and 2.00 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 lead Conference USA in hitting percentage, after 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.





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