Oct. 12, 2012
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Marshall volleyball earned its 13th win in 14 matches, sweeping Conference USA co-leader Rice, 3-0 (25-20, 25-18, 25-22) on Friday night in the Cam Henderson Center.
Marshall improved to 16-5 (6-1 C-USA) with the win, while Rice dropped to 13-9 (6-2 C-USA). The Owls earned their fifth three-set loss of the season, posting losses to BYU, Washington, LSU, and Ole Miss earlier in the season as well.
The Herd earned its ninth win in the Cam Henderson Center, staying perfect in its home record. The 9-0 home streak is the best run since starting the season with the same nine-win stretch in 2005.
Rice, who ranks 32nd nationally in kills and 64th in hitting percentage, was limited to just 38 kills and a .114 hitting percentage. Marshall was able to best the Owls in all categories including kills, assists, aces, digs, and blocks.
“Rice transitions the ball amazingly – from defense to offense,” said head coach Mitch Jacobs on the Rice volleyball program. “They’re as good as we have seen all year and that includes Louisville and Duke.
“We had to work really hard and get set up prior to their setter getting to the ball. That takes a lot of energy, but we played with a lot of great energy and I thought we played harder than we have all year.”
Marshall was led on offense by outside hitting duo Laura Der and Katy Schad. Der was able to earn a double-double in just two sets, earning 13 kills and 10 digs in the two games. She finished the match with a team-high 13 kills and 15 digs.
“At the beginning of the year, we were ranked 11th out of 12,” commented Der. “That has been in our heads the whole time. Throughout the week we were preparing and preparing and thinking that this could be our time.”
“The excitement and the energy of the crowd tonight – all the elements pulled together,” continued Der. “I have to give all the credit to our work ethic. We worked so hard this week and coach really pushed us mentally and physically.”
Schad combined for 13 kills as well and recorded a .297 hitting percentage after only finishing with two attack errors.
“I’m proud of our effort,” said Jacobs. “I thought Katy Schad was as good as she has been all year. It was great to see her play at that level and that hard. I’m pumped about how our outside duo did again tonight, as well as Sacha Byous-McConnell.”
Byous-McConnell finished the match with seven kills and a one of the highest hitting percentages on the team with a .304 mark.
The Marshall defense forced the powerful Rice offense to commit 23 attack errors and kept the net secure, earning 7.0 total blocks (4 solo, 6 assists) for the night.
Libero Dorothy Rahal earned a team-high 20 digs, while setter Sammie Bane contributed 13, giving the sophomore a double-double after finishing with 34 assists.
Freshman Jillian Shemanski once again led the Herd in blocks, earning five total stuffs. The middle-blocker currently ranks sixth in the conference, posting 1.09 blocks per set.
Marshall will hit the road for its next match against Houston. The match will start at 2:00 p.m. ET on Sunday.
“Now we have to go down to Houston and that team is on fire,” noted Jacobs. “They’re playing some great volleyball. We have to go down to Houston knowing that we are playing a really hot team. We’re going to start watching video tomorrow and get focused.”