Despite Sam Houston trying to fend off the Owls in the fourth set to extend the match, Rice walked away with a four set victory late Tuesday night.
In the first set, the Owls came out with both guns blazing while Sam Houston struggled to find their groove. Led by the serves of Jessica Holderness and Natalie Bogan, Rice took the first set 16-25.
In the second set, the Bearkats were toe-to-toe with the Owls until a kill by Ashleigh McCord for the eighth point established a groove for Rice, whom never looked back. Combined with trick dinks Sam Houston was not ready for, the Owls took set two 13-25.
The third set would be an entirely different story however. Following the lead of Sam Houston kill leader Sarah Hazlewood, the Bearkats battled. Combined with set blocks, digs, and well-needed serves, Sam Houston edged out Rice 25-23. In this set, there were a total of fourteen ties and eight lead changes.
Yet, despite the hard fought mentality of game three for Sam Houston, they were unable to capitalize on the momentum. SHSU was able to keep a close tempo with Rice, but could not seem to get past 20. Rice closed the game 25-20.
Hazlewood led Sam Houston with a total of twelve kills while playing in all four sets. Freshman Carli Kolbe and senior Haley Thomas would both tie for second with six kills each.
Sam Houston now embarks on a month long road trip, starting with the Loyola-Chicago Tournament in Illinois this upcoming weekend. Sam Houston does not return to the Johnson Coliseum until Friday, October 10.