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Tuesday, May 21, 2024 — Houston, TX

Volleyball needs to improve its offense before conference play

By Pavithr Goli     9/12/23 11:32pm

Despite coming into the season ranked No. 23 and rising as high as No. 18, Rice Volleyball now sits at 4-4 following a loss to No. 6 University of Texas Monday night.

After beating the University of Southern Mississippi in their season opener and defeating No. 22 University of Southern California at home, the Owls lost three straight games to the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Baylor University and Stanford University. The Owls turned the tide on their losing streak last weekend, winning against Houston Christian University and Florida Gulf Coast University at the Rice Invitational.

Rice entered the season ranked and filled with promise, but the volleyball team has dropped out of the top 25. Before entering conference play next week, the Owls will look to fix their weaknesses in order to reach their lofty season goals.

One of the best defensive squads in the nation, the Owls’ main strength this season has been stymying opposing offenses. Ranking highly in several major statistics, the Owls’ defensive performance is not only seen on the court, but also reflected in the box score. 

Out of the 332 Division I programs, the Owls record the 13th most digs per set with 17.19. Furthermore, the Owls hold opponents to a 0.149 opposition hitting percentage, which ranks 31st in the nation. They are also one of the most prolific blocking teams in the nation, recording 2.62 blocks per set, good for 36th in Division I.

Most of Rice’s issues lie on the offensive end: Their failure to score has held them back on several occasions and has been reflected in the stat sheet. Lying near the bottom on many offensive statistical measures, Rice Volleyball ranks 266th of 332 in total team attacks with 912 and have a 0.173 hitting percentage, which ranks as the 251st in the nation. The team also scores only 11.69 kills per set, ranking them at 225th. 

As the Owls look forward to the rest of their schedule, they should remain optimistic in reaching their goals. With their defense leading the way and no more ranked opponents left on their schedule, volleyball should focus on fixing their offensive issues to finish the season on a high note.

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