- Off to their best start (5-1) since the 2009 season, the Rice Owls volleyball team returns to Tudor Fieldhouse to host the Texas State Bobcats on Tuesday at 6 p.m. It will be a rematch of last year's National Invitational Volleyball Championship opening round, which the Bobcats won in straight sets. However, Rice leads the all-time series (17-10) and will be hosting Texas State in Houston for the first time since 2009.
Rice swept their three-match Rice Adidas Invitational I tournament this past weekend with victories over South Carolina (3-1), Liberty (3-0) and Houston Baptist (3-1).
Tuesday's match will be streamed on beIN Connect
through local cable providers. Matt Pedersen (play by play) and Daniela Tesch (color) will be on the call. Stay updated with all things Rice volleyball by following the Owls on Twitter and Instagram at @RiceVolleyball as well as online at www.RiceOwls.com
PROMOTIONS & TICKETS
*Come see prototypes and informational displays from local tech companies like Houston Mechatronics, Fruition Technology Labs, and Golden Section Technology. The first 100 students will receive a USB Car Charger.
General admission tickets are $8 and $6 for youth (ages 3-17). Fans can buy online here
or by contacting the Rice Athletics Ticket Office at (713) 348-OWLS (6957). The box office at Tudor Fieldhouse will begin operating one hour prior to first serve.
Texas State (2018 Record: 4-3, Sun Belt Conference | Series Record: Rice leads 17-10)
- Rice is coming off a weekend sweep of the Rice Adidas Invitational I, defeating South Carolina (3-1), Liberty (3-0), and Houston Baptist (3-1) to win the title outright. Nicole Lennon (MVP), Grace Morgan, and Tori Woogk were all named to the all-tournament team.
- Statistically, the Owls lead all of Conference USA in digs per set (16.65) while allowing the second-fewest kills per set (10.96) and are third in opponent's hitting percentage (.156).
- Morgan, who was named the C-USA Defensive Player of the Week on Monday, is the only player in C-USA to rank in the top three in both hitting percentage (3rd-.417) and blocks per set (3rd-1.23).
- Junior libero Lee Ann Cunningham ranks fourth in C-USA in digs per set (4.57). The Louisville, Ky. native ranks 10th in Rice history with 1,196 career digs.
- Prior to this past weekend, Rice was receiving votes in the VolleyballMag.com Mid-Major Poll.
- Rice returns seven starters and nine letterwinners from last year's team and will be incorporating five newcomers.
- The Owls were picked to finish second in the Conference USA Coaches' Preseason Poll, behind only reigning C-USA champion WKU.
- Lennon and Morgan were each named to the 2018 Preseason All-Conference USA Team. Morgan earned a spot on the C-USA First Team in 2017 while Lennon was a Second Team selection and was named the Co-Freshman of the Year.
- Rice head coach Genny Volpe is in her 15th season with the Owls and is the school's all-time leader in totals wins (267) and winning percentage (.615). She notched her seventh, 20-plus win season for the Owls in 2017.
- For the second time in as many years, Rice Volleyball's recruiting class received Highest Honorable Mention honors by the organization PrepVolleyball.com. The Owls were one of 25 recruiting classes that "just missed" the nation's top-30 classes. This year's class features middle blocker Anota Adekunle (Humble, Texas), setter Carly Graham (Conroe, Texas), libero Tia Grippo (Newport Beach, Calif.), outside hitter Hannah Lopez (San Antonio) and libero Isabel Wiatt (North Hollywood, California).
The Bobcats are coming off a 4-0 weekend, sweeping the 2018 Creeds & Crests Classic in San Marcos. After going 25-10 last year, the Bobcats lead the SBC in assists (12.92) and rank third in kills (13.29) and digs (16.25). Senior Madison Daigle leads the SBC in blocks (1.47), while freshman Emily DeWalt ranks fourth in assists (9.0). In her 39 years leading the Bobcats, head coach Karen Chisum has 30 winning seasons and 24 campaigns with at least 20 victories.
Later this week the Owls travel to Waco to partake in the Baylor Classic. Rice will first face UTRGV on Friday (3 p.m.) before taking on No. 12 Baylor on Saturday, Sept. 8 at 7 p.m.