HOUSTON, Texas - Rice opened with victories in the first two sets and withstood a Texas Tech rally in the third to capture the season opener for both squads, 3-0, Friday night in front of 1,044 fans at Tudor Fieldhouse.
With a rowdy student section seated right behind the bench, the Red Raiders struggled early into the first set, falling behind 10-4, causing head coach Trish Knight to call an early timeout. Tech came out of the break much better, however, winning 12 of the next 17 points to eventually lead 16-15.
The Owls were able to rebound, though, taking a 23-21 lead heading into Tech's final timeout and following up win a 25-23 win. Barbara Conceicao recorded six of her seven kills in the match during the set.
After a back-and-forth start to the second set, Rice continued its hot hitting with a .370 percentage to pull away 25-16, putting Tech on the ropes entering the break.
The Red Raiders received a spark to open the third set from Houston product Candice Neill. The Cypress Woods High School product recorded a career-high six digs in the set to pace Tech to a 17-11 lead.
Even with the Neill's added spark, Rice was able to respond and tie the match at 23-23 before winning the final set, 25-23. The Owls finished with three players with double-digit kills in Ashleigh McCord (15), Nancy Cole (10), and Laurie McNamara (10).
Amanda Dowdy led all Tech players with 13 kills, while Jackie Vincent added 11 digs at libero and Conceicao posted a team-high six block assists.
Tech looks to rebound Saturday morning against Ole Miss, who fell to UTSA, 3-2, earlier in the night. First serve against the Rebels is slated for 10:30 a.m. Tech concludes the Rice Invitational against UTSA at 5 p.m. Saturday.