The Rice University women’s volleyball team (11-5) won one game and lost another this past weekend. The Owls gained a 3-0 victory against the University of Southern Mississippi while in Hattiesburg, Mississippi on Friday Sept. 26. After the shutout victory, the team traveled to Bowling Green, Kentucky, only to fall 3-2 in a close match against Western Kentucky University.
The weekend performance stands as the first two Conference USA matches of the season. The team will return home to face the University of Texas, El Paso and Charlotte University this weekend.
Head Coach Genny Volpe said the team’s offense performed well against Southern Miss.
“I was glad to see us come out so focused,” Volpe said. “We can do some impressive things when we do that. Our offense was pretty solid all evening, and I felt like we made some solid adjustments in set two when they were getting hot.”
Volpe also said she felt gratitude towards the Rice football team, who also played at Southern Miss over the weekend, for attending the game.
“We also really want to thank our Rice football team and Coach Bailiff for bringing the football team to support us,” Volpe said. “It was awesome to have them cheering us on the road.”
While she was pleased with the win against Southern Miss, Volpe said Rice did not play as strongly in the WKU match.
“We came out pretty flat and just didn’t produce,” Volpe said. “Giving a team like WKU a two-set lead is not something anyone wants to do. In the third and fourth set, we settled in. It was a fun and competitive match, but it definitely hurts when you are not on the winning side.”
Volpe said she is pleased with how hard the team fought.
“I was proud of how the team stuck to the game plan; it was a battle, and we never backed down,” Volpe said.
Volpe said senior Jillian Humphrey, junior Kyley Reed and sophomore Sara Blasier — who is No. 38 in the country in assists per set — had standout performances this weekend
“[Humphrey] had a great match and played like a senior,” Volpe said. “[Reed] was key coming in and getting key kills at critical times. [Blasier] played solid[ly] and led the team well.”
Volpe said, while they suffered a rough loss on Sunday, the team gained experience that will aid them in the upcoming matches against the University of North Texas, UTEP and Charlotte.
“We now need to carry this over into next week,” Volpe said. “We will be tough to beat if we take this valuable match and learn from it.”