Rice senior Mariah Riddlesprigger returns to Fresno, Calif., as the Owls open the 2013 campaign with a strong Bulldog Invitational. All four teams in the Bulldog Invitational won 19+ matches in 2012, making it one of the stronger opening weekend events.
Rice senior Mariah Riddlesprigger visits her hometown of Fresno, Calif. to play in front of her friends and family. The Owls traditionally schedule a match in the home state of out-of-state seniors, most recently including a trip to Hawai'i in 2011 (Jordan Meredith).
All three teams the Owls face this weekend finished in the top 100 of RPI (Fresno St.- 90, Cal State Northridge- 76, Santa Clara- 48) and went a combined 59-35 (.628) overall in 2012
The Owls renew an old WAC rivalry with Fresno State, having not met the Bulldogs since Rice left for C-USA in 2005. Fresno State leads the series 7-4, and has won the last three meetings in Fresno. However, the Owls won the only meeting during the Volpe Era, winning in three sets during the 2004 season.
Rice faces Cal State Northridge for the second straight year, and looks to exact revenge on the Matadors, in a match that's certainly circled on the Owls' calendar. Daniela Arenas led the Owls with 12 digs in that match, but Rice couldn't overcome .096 hitting and lost in three sets
Santa Clara plays Rice on Saturday for the schools first meeting in volleyball. The Broncos went 20-12 overall and 9-7 in the West Coast Conference, the fourth-highest RPI conference, during the 2012 season.
About Rice Volleyball
Rice was the preseason pick to win C-USA by the league's coaches.
Rice has won four of its last five season openers, but has not opened on the road since a match at LSU in 2006, a 3-1 Tiger victory. The Owls are 17-16 in season opening games since 1980 and 17-9 since 1987
The Owls have won five consecutive home matches, dating back to Sept. 30, 2012, and nine of their last 10 at home. The Rice record for consecutive home wins is 19 (2003-05).
Murphy returns as 2012 C-USA Setter of the Year. The two-time All-American is looking to join former teammate Nancy Cole (2009-12) as the only three-time All-Americans in school history
Humphrey returns as a Second Team All-C-USA in 2012. Four of the six starters from 2012, plus the libero, return for 2013.
Rice is seeking its sixth consecutive .500-or-better season
Rice's schedule includes 16 matches against RPI Top 150 teams from 2012 and 13 matches against 20+ win teams in 2012. The Owls play 19 matches in the state of Texas this season.
Volleyball Season Tickets remain on sale, starting at $50 for adults and $99 for a family four pack