Sept. 3, 2012
Rice Owls (2-5, 0-0 C-USA) vs.
Sam Houston State Bearkats (3-4, 0-0 Southland)
Sept. 4, 2012 7 p.m.
Tudor Fieldhouse Houston, Texas
Series: Rice leads 19-14
Last Mtg: 9/17/11 (W, 3-1) at Nacogdoches, Texas
Owls Look To Build On Positives Against Sam Houston
The Owls continue their stretch of 18+ win opponents from a year ago with the Sam Houston State Bearkats visiting Tudor Fieldhouse. The Owls are looking to build on positives from the Tiger Classic to generate a result against Sam Houston. Rice hit a season-high .358 against now-No. 7 Washington on Saturday, but fell in three closely contested sets, never losing by more than four points. Rice took then-No. 7 Purdue to five sets, and even led 2-1 before falling to the Boilermakers 3-2 on Friday evening. Megan Murphy received accolades for her performances against the Top 10 competition; she was named All-Tiger Classic and C-USA Setter of the Week.
Rice Battles In Tiger Classic
In anticipation of Tropical Storm Isaac's arrival to the gulf coast region, the Tiger Classic, scheduled to take place in Baton Rouge, La. From Aug. 31-Sept. 1, was moved to Rice University's Fox Gymnasium. The Owls, facing three powerhouse programs, including then-No. 7 Purdue and then-No. 12 Washington, battled against the nation's best. Rice took a 2-1 lead over Purdue before eventually falling in five sets, and hit a season-high .358 against Washington. The Owls had an opportunity to tie each set at 20 or later against the Huskies before falling in straight sets. Megan Murphy was named All-Tiger Classic, largely in part to 114 assists over the course of the three matches.
Murphy Named C-USA Player of the Week (Sept. 3)
Redshirt junior Megan Murphy earned C-USA Setter of the Week for the week ending Sept. 2, posting 157 assists over the course of the week. The weekly honor was the first of Murphy's career. She averaged 10.47 assists per set during the week, and added in 18 kills off of a .341 hitting percentage, including four kills and .444 hitting against then-No. 12 Washington, in addition to 50 assists against then-No. 7 Purdue. Murphy earned a double-double against UTSA with 11 digs to go with 43 assists, and dug 33 attacks over four matches in the week.
Opponents Running Into Murphy's Law
Setter Megan Murphy has contributed in every way possible. She has had at least 34 assists in six of the seven matches this season, and leads Conference USA in assists. She has chipped in 29 kills off of .319 hitting, three service aces, 55 digs and 12 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%).
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.
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 36 blocks and 1.44 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 leads Conference USA in hitting percentage, after ranking second in hitting percentage in 2011. The Owls ranked 48th in the nation in hitting percentage in 2011. Nancy Cole hit .335 in 2011, which ranked fourth in the league and 71st in the nation.
Rice junior Tyler Jenkins and Sam Houston senior Jamie Haas played together at Deer Park HS from 2007-08, winning two district championships for the Deer ... Rice freshman Kimberly Vaio played at the same club (Alamo Volleyball Club) as three Sam Houston players; Camille Alfaro, Lauren Bohlen, and Deveney Wells-Gibson ... Alamo Volleyball Club is also where Genny Volpe played club volleyball before eventually becoming head coach at Rice ... Rice's Daniela Arenas and SHSU's Kendall Cleveland both played for Texas Tornados club, although Arenas is a sophomore and Cleveland a senior.