Rice has now beaten Texas two times in a row.
The Owls of Conference USA, who lost to Texas the first 36 times they played before finally breaking through in September 2019, did it again Tuesday, winning 10-25, 25-16, 25-23, 14-25, 15-13 in Austin to give Texas its first loss of the 2020-21 season.
Freshman Taylor Alt had 28 kills and Toledo upset previously unbeaten Bowling Green, which had already clinched the league title, in the Mid-American Conference.
The WAC ended its regular season as NM State swept at Chicago State, and the MAC had a full slate of action.
Among the other matches on Wednesday, Villanova of the Big East is at La Salle of the Atlantic 10 and Navy is at American in the Patriot League.
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RICE KNOCKS OFF TEXAS — The Longhorns were 20-0, 14-0 in the fall against Big 12 teams and this spring had beaten Oklahoma twice, Baylor, Texas State, and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. But Rice (14-4), which was coming off a five-set loss this past Friday at home against Baylor, bounced back in a big way.
“That was one of the most exciting matches I’ve ever been a part of,” veteran Rice coach Genny Volpe said. “Texas is such a quality team with so many weapons and very-well coached. They gave us a lot to handle and we just battled so hard and found a way to win.
“I think I’m most impressed by how we didn’t let a very poor start affect us the rest of the match. It took a full team effort and it took a lot of contributions. I’m just super proud of the team today.”
Nicole Lennon led Rice with 18 kills, two assists, an ace, 14 digs, and three blocks, one solo.
“After Baylor, we gained some confidence in ourselves and what we can do, and that confidence shone today,” Lennon said.
“We are so thankful to play great teams like Baylor and Texas so that we have the opportunity to prove ourselves, and we got to do that today. I’m so excited to see what this team will continue to do this season.”
Anota Adekunle had 12 kills with one error in 19 attacks to hit .579 and she had an ace, a block, and three digs. Carly Graham had five kills in nine errorless attempts, 32 assists, and 11 digs.
Texas out-hit Rice .281 to .206 and had more kills, 59-50. Rice held a 63-48 digs advantage, while Texas had 13 aces and 13 errors and Rice had five of each.
Logan Eggleston led Texas with 21 kills, two aces, a block, and six digs. Melanie Parra had 13 kills, hit .323, and had two assists, four aces, two blocks, and seven digs. Brionne Butler had nine kills and nine blocks, two solo.
MID-AMERICAN — Western Michigan (15-4) hit .376 and clinched the No. 2 seed in the MAC tournament by winning its ninth of 10, a sweep of visiting Northern Illinois (8-12). WMU is the MAC West champ and has the most victories for the program since 2015.
Maggie King led with 13 kills, a block, and a dig. Rachel Bontrager had 12 kills, hit .370, and had an ace, two blocks, and six digs …
Toledo (6-12) won at Bowling Green (18-1) 25-19, 20-25, 22-25, 25-18, 15-11. Taylor Alt had 28 kills and hit .315 and had an assist, an ace, two solo blocks, and 15 digs. Olivia Vance had 17 kills with one error in 32 swings to hit .500 and had an assist, an ace, three blocks, and two digs. Payton Morman had a kills, 61 assists and six digs, and Ryann Jaqua had 31 digs, two assists, and two aces. Bowling Green got 18 kills apiece from Jacqueline Askin and Katelyn Meyer and 14 from Petra Indrova, who had a block and 13 digs. Hanna Laube had two kills, 49 assists, three blocks, and five digs …
Ohio (9-7) knocked off visiting Kent State (12-6) as Mariana Rodrigues had 18 kills, Tia Jimerson 16 while hitting .355 with six blocks, two solo, and Caitlin O’Farrell had 12 and three blocks … Central Michigan won in four at Eastern Michigan behind 15 kills by Savannah Thompson, who had an ace, a block, and 14 digs … Milla Malik had 23 kills and hit .500 as Buffalo won in four at Akron … And Miami beat visiting Ball State in five as four Redhawks had 13 or more kills, 18 by Sophie Riemersma. Ball State’s Kia Holder had 19 kills, a dig, and three blocks, two solo.
WAC — NM State (15-1, 13-1) swept at Chicago State as Victoria Barrett had 12 kills, hit .346, and had an assist, an ace, a block, and eight digs. Savannah Davison had nine kills, two blocks, and three digs, and Lia Mosher had nine kills, hit .467, and had six blocks …
Utah Valley (12-5, 12-4) still finished in third, but swept second-place Grand Canyon (11-3) as the Wolverines hit .316 and four players had eight or more kills. Kristen Bell had nine kills, hit .300 and had three blocks and two digs, and Tori Dorius had nine kills with one error in 17 attacks to hit .471 … Tarleton (13-11, 8-8) beat visiting UT Rio Grande Valley in four as Lauren Kersey, who hit .500, and Amber Strange, who had two solo blocks, had 16 kills each … Also, California Baptist swept at St. Martin’s.
AROUND THE NATION — St. John’s (10-3, 6-2) swept its Big East match over visiting Villanova (4-4, 3-3) to win the conference’s East Division. Efrosini Alexakou led with 14 kills as she hit .333 and had an ace, a block, and eight digs …
In the MEAC, NC Central hit .500 and swept visiting South Carolina State. The Eagles had 46 kills with five errors in 82 attacks. Ammaarah Williams led with 10 kills and no errors in 12 swings and she had an assist, two aces, three blocks, and five digs …
In the Northeast Conference, Bryant beat Central Connecticut and then Central Connecticut beat Bryant in four. Erika Ward had 34 digs, two kills in as many tries, and four assists for Bryant in the first match, while CCSU’s Ashlyn Eisenga had 28 digs and three assists in the opener and 32 digs and three assists in the nightcap …
Houston Baptist swept visiting Abilene Christian in their Southland Conference match. Ellie Wipf had a kill, 46 assists, 12 digs, and four blocks for HBU.
UCLA MEN WIN — Stanford (1-9) won the first set 37-35, but then visiting UCLA (10-4) won the next three 25-21, 25-17, 25-17. UCLA, which hit .437, had four players with 10 or more kills, 19 from Cole Ketrzynski and 18 from Ethan Champlin. Ketrzynski hit .500 and had six aces, two blocks, and four digs. Champlin hit .441 and had an assist, two blocks, and seven digs.
Will Rottman led Stanford with 16 kills and Nathan Lietzke had two kills in four errorless tries, 40 assists, an ace, a block, and eight digs.