Sept. 12, 2012
Rice Invitational II Tudor Fieldhouse (5,750) Houston, Texas
Rice Owls (5-6, 0-0 C-USA) vs.Cal State Northridge Matadors (6-3, 0-0 Big West)
Sept. 14, 2012 11 a.m.
Series: Series tied 1-1
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Owls Host Rice Invitational II To Close Non-Conference Play
The Owls finish non-conference play by hosting a third tournament of the preseason, Rice Invitational II. Rice has won three of its last four matches, only dropping a match to SEC foe Ole Miss in that span. The Owls finished second in the Magnolia Invitational a week ago in Oxford, Miss., as Nancy Cole and Laurie McNamara were named All-Tournament. Cole and setter Megan Murphy were also rewarded with C-USA Offensive Player and Setter of the Week honors, respectively.
Nancy Cole 1K
In the first set of the Ole Miss match on Sept. 7, Nancy Cole became the 13th player in Rice history to reach 1,000 career kills. She has 1,011 kills for her career, and needs to reach 1,233 kills to enter the top ten all-time at Rice.
Cole and Murphy Named C-USA Players Of The Week (Sept. 10)
Both Nancy Cole and Megan Murphy picked up C-USA weekly honors on Sept. 10. Over that week, Cole had two 15+ kill matches, picking up 19 kills and hitting .371 against North Dakota, and she picked up 15 kills against Sam Houston St. The honor is the first of Cole's career. Murphy picked up her second consecutive weekly honor with 146 assists over the course of the week, helping Rice hit .254 and go 3-1 in the week. Her 52 assists against North Dakota are the most in a four-set match this season by a C-USA player.
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 31 assists in nine of the 11 matches this season, and leads Conference USA in assists. She has chipped in 45 kills off of .366 hitting, three service aces, 73 digs and 19 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%).
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 and ranks 71st in the nation in that category.