Rice Owls (3-5, 0-0 C-USA) vs. North Dakota (3-3, 0-0 Big Sky)
Sept. 7, 2012 10 a.m.
Series: UND leads 1-0
Last Mtg: 9/16/10 (L, 3-1) at Nacogdoches, Texas
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Sept. 7, 2012 7 p.m.
Series: Series tied 3-3
Last Mtg: 8/28/10 (L, 3-0) at Tudor Fieldhouse
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Rice Takes On Magnolia Invitational
The Owls go to Oxford, Miss. to play in the Magnolia Invitational. Rice swept Sam Houston on Tuesday, and is looking for its first back-to-back wins of the season. The Owls have turned in three straight solid performances against good competition, sweepting Sam Houston, hitting a season-high .358 against now-No. 7 Washington and taking then-No. 7 Purdue to five sets, and even leading 2-1 before falling to the Boilermakers 3-2. Megan Murphy received accolades for her performances the past week; she was named All-Tiger Classic and C-USA Setter of the Week. Nancy Cole needs 21 more kills to reach 1,00 for her career.
Nancy Cole 1K
Entering the North Dakota game, Nancy Cole has 979 career kills. She needs 21 more to reach 1,000. Only 12 players in Rice history have reached 1,000 kills, Cole would be the 13th to reach that mark.
Sweeping Sam Houston
Rice defeated Sam Houston 3-0 on Sept. 4, receiving 15 kills from Nancy Cole and a season-high 13 kills from Lizzy Bache. Rice held the Bearkats to .105 hitting, and looked especially good in the first set, winning 25-15 and holding Sam Houston to .027 hitting in that set.
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 seven of the eight matches this season, and leads Conference USA in assists. She has chipped in 31 kills off of .321 hitting, three service aces, 62 digs and 14 blocks. She has two double-doubles on the season, reaching that mark against Arkansas State (Aug. 25) and UTSA (Aug. 28). Her 1,695 career assists rank 9th in Rice history, and she needs 75 assists to tie Casey Roon for 8th place. 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 37 blocks and 1.32 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.