IRVING, Texas - Following a pair of wins over the weekend, the Rice Owls volleyball team was rewarded by the league office with the Monday afternoon announcement that Andi Bawcum and Katie Steel were tabbed the Conference USA Offensive Player of the Week and Setter of the Week, respectively.
Bawcum, a junior outside hitter from Paris, Texas (Paris HS), had the best weekend of her career while helping lead the Owls to a 2-0 record and extend their home win streak to five straight. Bawcum established a new career-high with 22 kills in the Owls 3-1 win over Middle Tennessee, the most kills by an Owl since Ashleigh McCord's 23 in 2011. Bawcum then backed up that performance by leading the Owls in kills again with 13 more in a 3-0 victory over UAB. For the weekend Bawcum totaled 35 kills on 75 attacks for a hitting percentage of .360.
Steel, a freshman setter from New Braunfels, Texas, filled in for an injured Sara Blasier and performed more than admirably in her first two career starts. Steel established both a career and team's season-high 56 assists for a four set match in the Owls 3-1 win over Middle Tennessee. Steel then racked up 39 more assists in Rice's 3-0 sweep over UAB. For the weekend Steel totaled 95 assists in seven sets (13.5 per set) and led the Owls offense to a .442 set percentage (95 assists on 215 attacks).
The awards were the Owls fourth and fifth C-USA Player of the Week awards this season, joining Blasier and Jillian Humphrey (twice) as the other honorees.
Rice will be on the road this weekend for a pair of games in Florida, beginning Friday at FIU, followed by their final road contest of the season at Florida Atlantic on Sunday.