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Thursday, July 07, 2022 — Houston, TX

Volleyball wins two at opener

9/3/14 12:46pm

Rice University women’s volleyball hosted their annual season opener, the Rice Invitational, this past weekend. On Friday, Rice swept University of California, Davis. They then suffered a close 3-2 loss to Louisiana-Lafayette on Saturday, followed by a final game between Rice and Fresno State in which Rice achieved a 3-0 victory. Next weekend, Rice heads to the North Carolina State tournament where they will face North Carolina State, Connecticut and Toledo in Raleigh, North Carolina.

The season opener featured strong performances from veterans like middle back senior Jillian Humphrey and defense specialist junior Kimberly Vaio as well as solid play from freshman outside hitter Shelby Livingstone. Other standout play came from sophomore outside hitter Leah Mikesky and sophomore setter Sara Blasier. Mikesky and Blasier made the Rice Invitational all-tournament team.

Head Coach Genny Volpe said that, in the Saturday morning game against Louisiana, Rice suffered from poor play. Volpe added that they improved greatly in the final game against Fresno State.

“I was really happy with the team this evening because this morning was pretty sloppy and undisciplined,” Volpe said. “We went and watched film of ourselves from this morning before tonight’s match to see their mistakes, and from the very first point you could see them making the changes.”

Volpe credited the final victory to Rice’s disciplined defense. She said the team played with confidence and well-placed aggression.

“We were so much more disciplined on defense,” Volpe said. “We weren’t second guessing and stuck to our game plan. The bottom line is we didn’t hesitate and played super aggressive.”

Volpe said she is pleased with the results of the season opener. She said the team showed a remarkable ability to overcome challenges. She added that last year the team tended to struggle when faced with difficult games.

“Our coaching staff was extremely proud how we handled a little bit of adversity towards the end of that second set," Volpe said. “Those were moments last year where we sometimes struggled, but tonight we showed great resolve.”

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