Nov. 6, 2013
Following a pair of wins in the state of Florida last weekend, the Rice Owls volleyball team will be looking to extend their streak to a season-high three consecutive wins this Thursday when they travel to Southland Conference foe Houston Baptist. The Owls will then return home for a Sunday afternoon showdown against Tulane at 1 p.m.
The HBU match takes on special significance for the two schools, as the proceeds will benefit the Tolar Tomorrow Fund.
Barbara Tolar has been HBU’s assistant director of compliance and scholarships for the past six years, after working 35 years (1971-2006) in the Rice Athletics Department. Barbara was married to fellow Northwestern State graduate, the late Charlie “The Human Bowling Ball” Tolar, who played running back for the Houston Oilers from 1960-1966, winning two AFL titles (1960, 1961) and being named to the Pro Bowl in 1961 and 1962.
Last year, the Tolar’s daughter, Sharon, lost her battle with cancer on Oct. 1, and was survived by her daughter, Shelby; her sisters, Debbie and Brenda and their families; as well as Barbara. The Tolar Tomorrow Fund was established as a scholarship fund for Shelby, and the proceeds from the match, as well as any donations, will be given to the fund.
• The Owls are coming off a weekend in which they took both games in the state of Florida, defeating both Florida Atlantic and FIU 3-1. The road victories were just the Owls second and third of the season, respectively. It marks the second time this season that the Owls have won back-to-back games.
• Jillian Humphrey moved into seventh place in school history both career blocks (375) and career blocks assists (307) this past weekend. The Shoreacres, Texas native moved past Terri Loewenthal in career blocks (367: 1990-93) and Jennifer Sloan in block assists (305: 1993-96).
• Redshirt freshman Sara Blasier has helped improved the Owls national assists ranking with her stellar play of late. The Owls are currently ranked 50th in the nation (4th in C-USA) with 12.79 assists per set. In her last seven matches, in which Rice has gone 4-3, Blasier is averaging 12.3 assists per set and 332 overall. In that span the Owls have a .261 attack percentage as a team compared to .214 for the entire season.
• Rice volleyball is currently in ninth place in the C-USA standings with three conference matches left to play. The top 12 teams advance to the conference tournament Nov. 21-24 in Murfreesboro.
• Rice snapped a five-game road losing streak with their win at Florida Atlantic on Nov. 1, the first win away from Tudor Fieldhouse since a 3-0 triumph at Lamar on Sept. 10.
• The Owls are a perfect 6-0 all-time versus Houston Baptist, which includes a 3-1 victory over the Huskies back on Sept. 13 at the Rice Invitational. HBU has won five of their past eight matches and two straight.
The Last Meeting
September 13, 2013
The Last Meeting
October 19, 2012
New Orleans, La.
• Rice holds a 15-12 advantage in the all-time series against the Green Wave and have won three straight meetings. Tulane ranks first in C-USA in assists per set (13.6), hitting percentage (.263) and kills per set (14.65). Mel Mandelbaum is ranked 13th in the nation, first in C-USA, in assists per set (11.53). The Green Wave saw their nine-match win streak come to an end last weekend in a 3-1 loss at North Texas.
Noting 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 more difficult 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.
• Daniela Arenas passed the 1,000-dig mark on the opening weekend of Conference USA play, becoming just the 14th player in program history to reach the milestone. The junior continues her climb up the Rice record book, currently ranking 9th with 1,169 digs.
• The Owls have played five, five-set matches this season (0-5 record), including the first two matches of the year. Rice played six five set matches in all of 2012, going 3-3.
• The Rice Owls volleyball squad raised a record $3,553 in their fifth annual Dig Pink match, teaming up with the Side-Out Foundation to raise awareness and funding for breast cancer. Rice’s dedicated Dig Pink match was vs. Charlotte on Oct. 13, which the Owls won 3-0. Over the past five years, the Owls have raised over $8,000 participating in Dig Pink.