Picture courtesy Rice Athletics
Picture courtesy Rice Athletics
by Daniel Schrager 8/30/22 11:19pm
The Rice volleyball group did not let a double-header on Friday or a disappointing first set in Saturday’s leg as they started their season with three straight wins over the weekend at Louisiana State College’s Tiger Traditional in Baton Rouge . The group opened the event with a pair of sweeps earlier than preventing for a 3–2 win over LSU to finish the weekend. In keeping with head coach Genny Volpe, whereas their offense was nonetheless in progress, the group was robust in all different facets of the sport.
“We’re nonetheless engaged on our attacking rhythm, however I used to be very pleased with my protection and the service obtained,” mentioned Volp.
The Owls’ first sport, in opposition to the College of Houston, was within the type of a logical query mark, as the 2 groups, usually lower than 4 miles aside, traveled over 250 miles and traveled face-to-face on the Marwich Meeting Heart. . The primary set was shut, as Rice by no means led by greater than 5 factors, however the Owls managed to win it 25–22. It might be the closest to a cougar all evening to realize a set. Rice gained the second set 25-18 after 5 targets from fifth-year senior center blocker Anotha Adekunle. The Owls repeated Adecunle’s transfer within the third set behind one other 5 kills and 15 assists from fifth-year senior Carly Graham – the 350th of Volp’s profession – to seal the victory.
Owl stepped into court docket three hours later in opposition to Samford College. No matter fatigue the group could have had from the early turnaround, it actually did not present as they took a 10-1 lead and gained the primary set 25-15. In keeping with Adecunle, the group had ready for the double-header and managed to keep away from its worst results.
“It wasn’t as tiring as I anticipated,” Adecunle mentioned. “I felt actually good bodily after enjoying my final sport on Friday. I believe the coaching we gave in apply ready us for it. ,
The Bulldogs held the second set shut, going out to a 17-12 lead at one level, however managed to return again behind a late hit from the sophomore outdoors Owls hitter/proper aspect Lola Ford. In a dominant third set, Owl accomplished his second sweep of the day.
After profitable his first six units of the weekend, hosts LSU dealt a bit of blow to Rice by profitable Saturday’s first set 25-13. In keeping with Adecunle, the Owls have been shocked by LSU’s fast begin, however as soon as they settled into the match, they have been capable of regain the momentum.
“The sport of volleyball is usually a sport of pace,” Adecunle mentioned. “LSU got here out with a lot hearth, it took us only a minute to regulate. Unhealthy units occur on a regular basis and sadly we have been on that aspect of issues.”
The owl scarcity did not final lengthy, nevertheless. Rice gained the following two units by 7 and 9 factors respectively to take a 2-1 lead. The Tigers managed to drive the fifth set, however three unanswered factors in a 12-12 draw gave Owls their third win in three tries. After the comeback victory, Volpe said that the change was extra a results of the group’s restraint than any tactical change.
,[We made] Actually no changes,” Volpe mentioned. “The group began off flat and so we simply remained dedicated to ourselves and believed that we’d come out of it, which we did. The group stayed and stayed in our serve and cross sport, which made an enormous distinction.
Over the weekend, junior outdoors hitter Sahara Maruska led the Ovals with 34 in kills, whereas Adekunale was second with 29. The group’s major setter, Graham, made 102 assists, whereas junior libero Nia McCardell earned Convention USA Defensive Participant of the Week honors. For his 46 digs in three video games. In keeping with Maruska, she is taking a extra energetic position in each offense and protection this season.
“My position on the group final yr was to enter the sport and get as many kills as doable once I was in,” Maruska mentioned. “This yr I am enjoying protection within the again row and making a internet presence on offense.”
Subsequent, the group heads to Eugene, Ore. for a pair of video games—a Friday afternoon sport in opposition to the College of California, Davis, and a Saturday evening sport in opposition to the No. 18 College of Oregon. Because the season begins, Maruska mentioned she’s assured the owl, who obtained the thirty-most votes on this week’s American Volleyball Coaches Affiliation rankings, will discover her groove.
“I’ve numerous confidence on this group,” Maruska mentioned. “I believe we’ve got a really robust season understanding that everybody will probably be firing on all cylinders in each sport.”