For the second time this season the Rice volleyball team walked off an opponents’ court as the winning team.
The Rice Owls defeated the Florida Atlantic Owls 3-1 Friday in Boca Raton, Fla. to end a three-match losing streak. It was the first Conference USA road win for Rice (7-17, 4-6) and the first time the team has won away from Tudor Fieldhouse since a Sept. 10 victory at Lamar.
In the 27-25, 23-25, 25-15, 25-18 win over FAU Friday, passing played a big part in Rice’s success. Rice recorded 63 assists, the most in a four-set match this season. Freshman setter Sarah Blasier had 56 of those assists, to go along with seven kills and 10 digs.
Blasier spread out the pass distribution well with four different Rice players notching double-digit kills. Chelsey Harris had a team high 13 with Jillian Humphrey, Noelle Whitlock totaling 11. Mariah Riddlesprigger finished with 10 kills.
FAU (10-14, 2-8) won the second set and jumped ahead 6-4 in the third set. Rice responded with a match-altering 10-0 run. A service error by FAU gave Rice the serve and the set was tied after a Blasier kill.
Back-to-back attack errors by Florida Atlantic’s Briann Wojciakowski and Kristi Tekavec put Rice ahead 8-6. Lizzy Bache and Riddlesprigger spiked it for points to continue the spurt. Two more kills by Bache, another one from Riddlesprigger and a FAU attack error finished the run. Rice won the set 25-15 on a Daniela Arenas service ace.
The win moved Rice into a tie for 9th place in the conference standings with UAB and Sunday’s opponent, Florida International. That will be another road match. The team’s next home match is Nov. 10 vs. Tulane (22-2, 8-1).
The top 12 teams in C-USA final regular season standings will compete in the Conference USA tournament later this month at Middle Tennessee State.