Oct. 2, 2013
Following a solid rebound win against East Carolina at home on Sunday, Rice University volleyball takes to the road for the first time in Conference USA play this season with matches at defending champion Tulsa (Oct. 4, 7 p.m.) and Southern Miss (Oct. 6, 1 p.m.).
The Last Meeting
November 9, 2012
Rice opened Conference USA play last weekend with a split in two home matches. After dropping the opener to Middle Tennessee, Rice bounced back to post a season-high .279 hitting percentage in a convincing three-set romp over East Carolina.
Daniela Arenas passed the 1,000-dig mark on Friday, becoming just the 14th player in program history to reach the milestone. On the front row, Jillian Humphrey swatted three blocks in each of the weekend matches and put down 15 kills with a .500 hitting percentage in Sunday's sweep.
Rice returns to the road this weekend, beginning with a marquee matchup between last season's top two league finishers as the Owls visit reigning regular season and tournament champion Tulsa.
The Owls posted a 5-3 road mark in C-USA action last season.
Scouting the Golden Hurricane (12-4, 1-0 Conference USA)
Rice owns a 20-17 advantage over the Golden Hurricane in the all-time series, but Tulsa has taken each of the last six matches dating to the 2010 season.
In four career matches with the Golden Hurricane, Arenas averages 4.88 digs per set. Tyler Jenkins owns a .277 hitting percentage against TU in four matches, while Mariah Riddlesprigger has faced the league foe the most ofen with 37 kills spread over six matches.
Tulsa brings a four-match winning streak into the contest, including a 3-2 road victory at UAB to open its final season of Conference USA competition. Kellie Culbertson leads the team with 3.31 kills per set to accompany 4.26 digs per set and 37 service aces. TU is 3-2 at home on the season.
The Last Meeting
November 2, 2012
Scouting the Golden Eagles (9-7, 0-1 Conference USA)
Rice then turns its attention to Southern Miss on Sunday. The Golden Eagles are looking to snap a five-match skid, including last weekend's 3-2 loss against UAB. Three of USM's last four matches have gone to five sets. Southern Miss is 4-1 at home but has not played in Hattiesburg since a 3-0 win on Sept. 10 against Southeastern Louisiana. All five home matches have been three-set sweeps.
The Owls own a commanding 10-3 lead in the series, including a three-match winning streak. Rice has won five of the last six meetings, dating back to the 2009 campaign.
In three matches, Humphrey knocks forn 3.08 kills per set with a .341 hitting percentage and 1.54 blocks per set. Megan Murphy adds 10.36 assists and 3.21 digs per set in four meetings with the Golden Eagles.
About Rice Volleyball
Rice was the preseason pick to win C-USA by the league's 15 coaches.
Rice's non-conference schedule ranked among the toughest in the league, with an average opponent RPI of 102. Only Tulsa's was tougher among Conference USA schools.
Lizzy Bache was named All-Rice Invitational I for her .404 hitting percentage, 30 kills, and four service aces in the tournament, while Jillian Humphrey picked up All-Rice Invitational II honors for her 39 kills and 11 blocks in mid-September. Humphrey was also named to the All-Bulldog Invitational team for her solid start to the season.
The Owls have played three five-set matches this season (0-3 record), including the first two matches of the year. Rice played six five set matches in all of 2012, going 3-3.
Rice is seeking its sixth consecutive .500-or-better season.
Rice returns home after this weekend to host Marshall on Oct. 11 and Charlotte on Oct. 13.