BOWLING GREEN, Ky.
– The Rice Owls volleyball team snapped WKU's win streak of 57 consecutive home C-USA victories with a 3-1 triumph (25-15, 24-26, 25-22, 25-21) Sunday afternoon at E.A. Diddle Arena.
Rice (12-4, 3-0) won their sixth straight match overall behind a monster performance from sophomore outside hitter Nicole Lennon
. The Katy, Texas native registered her team-leading eighth double-double of the season with 21 kills and 15 digs while hitting a blistering .487 and collecting five blocks.
Freshman setter Carly Graham
also picked up a double-double, her seventh of the year, with 29 assists and 15 digs. Freshman middle blocker Anota Adekunle
provided a boost in the middle with 10 kills (.571) and five blocks while junior middle blocker Grace Morgan
added nine kills and also had five blocks.
RICE HEAD COACH GENNY VOLPE
"This was a hard-fought win. WKU is so tough. I'm so proud of how our team stayed composed. There was no moment in time I think either team felt comfortable. It was back and forth the whole way. Nicole and Anota were extremely efficient. Carly really took charge towards the end of the match. It was great to see her so composed this early in her career. We just need to keep it going by staying focused on the process."
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Owls took charge of the match from the get-go, leading start-to-finish in set one en route to a 25-15 victory. Rice's defense shined by holding WKU to a .053 hitting percentage and offensively the Owls closed the frame on a 9-2 run, breaking open a slim 15-13 advantage.
WKU bounced back to even the match with a 26-24 victory but not before Rice charged back to make things interesting. The Lady Toppers led 21-17 but Rice rallied to tie things up, 22-22 and 24-24. However, WKU got consecutive kills from Rachel Anderson (13 kills) to seal the win.
Rice hit .361 in set three and once again closed strong with a 6-4 run to win 25-22. WKU hit just .139 for the set and Lennon added eight kills offensively in the critical go-ahead victory.
The Owls put the match away with a 25-21 win and continued their offensive prowess, hitting .371 with only two errors. Lennon added six more kills in the frame and Adekunle posted four kills as well.
• The Owls six-match win streak is the team's longest since their eight straight wins last year, which stretched from Sept. 24-Oct. 22.
• Junior libero Lee Ann Cunningham
moved into fifth place on the Rice all-time digs list with 1,390 career digs, surpassing Jennifer McClean (6th-1,388). Next up is Leigh Leman (4th-1,394).
• Lennon now has three matches with 20 or more kills this season.
• The Owls picked up their first road victory (1-3) of the season.
The Owls continue their three-match road trip next weekend at Middle Tennessee (Oct. 5, 7 p.m.) and Southern Miss (Oct. 7, 1 p.m.). Rice returns home on Oct. 12 when they host Marshall at 6 p.m. For ticket information and links, be sure to visit www.RiceOwls.com
and @RiceVolleyball on Twitter.