Oct. 19, 2011
The Rice Owls volleyball squad (11-9, 6-3) hosts Memphis (15-7, 4-5) on Friday at 7 p.m. and then plays at UAB (17-4, 7-2) on Sunday at 1 p.m. in Birmingham, Ala.
Friday's Memphis match is the Owls' dedicated Dig Pink Match in support of the fight against breast cancer. The Rice Volleyball Team is excited to be a part of the Side-Out Foundation and Dig Pink campaign. Education is key to increasing awareness and knowledge about the disease. Your donation will go to the Side-Out Foundation, which in turn awards grants to medical research organizations and entities dedicated to providing compassionate support to breast cancer patients and their families.
Personal message from team co-captain Laurie McNamara:
For me, the Dig Pink campaign hits close to home. In 2007, the mother of one of my teammates at Coppell High School was diagnosed with breast cancer. She was one of the most active and involved women in our city. She was the former mayor of the city of Coppell, a facilitator for Coppell Youth Leadership, and an avid triathlete who today is still actively involved with Dallas Athletes. If she had enough strength to train for an Ironman Triathlon while undergoing chemo, the least we could do was raise money to inspire other women to have her stamina and dedication. In her honor, I organized the first ever event similar to Dig Pink for a high school volleyball team in the state of Texas and raised over $13,500 that was donated to another breast cancer awareness organization. My teammate's mom is now cancer free, but that isn't always the case. One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime, so there is a good chance that the disease will affect you or someone you know. This event helps us to raise awareness and raise funds to help find ways to fight against this awful disease. I appreciate your generosity and look forward to seeing you at the match!
Quick Look at Rice (11-9, 6-3)
The Owls lost to UCF 3-1, but bounced back on Sunday to knock out UTEP 3-0. Rice sits in fourth place in the Conference USA standings, behind Tulsa, UAB, and Houston.
Rice features a balanced attack as evidence by three Owls who continue to average over 2.00 kills per set. Junior middle blocker Nancy Cole leads the squad 221 kills and 2.87 kills per set, junior Laurie McNamara follows at 2.44 (188 kills), while freshman Lizzy Bache averages 2.37 kills per set. Jillian Humphrey is close at 1.96 kps (151 kills).
Quick Look at Memphis (15-7, 4-5)
Altrese Hawkins leads the Tigers offensively at 4.29 kps average with 335 kills. Marija Jovanovic follows at 3.28 kps with 246 kills, while Hajnalka Molnar sports an 11.8 assist average. Memphis has lost three of its last four matches, including two to UTEP (3-2 and 3-1).
Quick Look at UAB (15-5, 5-2)
The Blazers were 7-0 in league action, prior to losing at home to Tulsa (3-0) and SMU (3-0) last weekend. Sam Serley leads the Tigers with 210 kills (2.66 kps), while Kate Morrell (176k, 2.55 kps) and Ally Slaughter (171k, 2.38 kps) follow. Heather Thomas is averaging 5.04 digs per set with 398 digs on the season and Serley is also averaging a team-high 1.32 blocks a set.
The Owls are 3-4 vs. Memphis and 9-4 vs. UAB. Memphis and Rice split last season's meetings with the Owls winning in Memphis (3-1) and the Tigers returning the favor in Houston (3-2). Rice lost both matches to the Blazers in 2010 by 3-2 scores.
Rice Head Coach Genny Volpe
Rice head volleyball coach Genny Volpe is in her eighth season directing the Owls' volleyball program. Volpe has an overall school and career record of 140-95. She has led the Owls to all three of their NCAA championship appearances (2004, 2008, and 2009).
Defensive Player of the Week
Senior Megan White was named as Conference USA's Defensive Player of the Week (Sept. 5) after averaging 5.91 digs per set. She had a career-high 35 digs in the 3-2 win over Georgia Tech.
Rice is 5-6 during in-season tournament action. Rice posted a 0-2 mark at the Rice Invitational I and went 3-0 in the Rice Invitational II. The Owls were 0-3 at Hawai'i's Verizon Volleyball Challenge and went 2-1 at the SFA Invitational.
Team C-USA Stat Ranks
Rice ranks fourth in C-USA in assists (12.68), fifth in kills (13.30), fifth in blocks (2.19), and third in digs (16.23).
Jillian Humphrey was named to the Rice Invitational I all-tournament team. Nancy Cole was named MVP of Rice Invitational II, while Megan White and Megan Murphy were selected to the all-tournament squad. Laurie McNamara was selected to the all-tournament at Hawai'i. White and Murphy were also selected to the SFA Invitational All-Tournament Team.
The Owls play at UCF in Orlando, Fla. on Sunday, Oct. 30, before hosting East Carolina on Nov. 5 (tba) and Nov. 6 (2 p.m.). Rice then hosts Tulsa (Nov. 11) and SMU (Nov. 13).