The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Mustangs defeat Rice in five-set rematch

The SMU volleyball team continued their strong push for the conference tournament when they defeated Rice University (25-23, 21-25, 19-25, 25-22, 15-7) and the University of Houston (25-20, 25-19, 25-19) over the weekend.

The Mustangs, who lost to the Owls in their first meeting earlier this season, avenged that loss when they took down Rice in five-sets on Friday. With that win, the Mustangs and the Owls swapped places in the Conference USA rankings: SMU took fourth while Rice dropped to fifth.

Coming into the match, senior Kendra Kahanek had 480 total career blocks at SMU, which was second all-time to Natalie Peters, who had 484. But, in the fourth set, Kahanek recorded her sixth block of the night, propelling her to the top of record books with 486.

But, the night did not only belong to Kahanek. The victory over Rice took a team effort and three Mustangs recorded double-doubles against the Owls. Leading the way was sophomore Kathryn Wilkerson, who had her eighth double-double of the season with a team-high 15 kills and 20 digs. Sophomores Dana Powell got her 15th with 13 kills and 23 digs and Kelli Becerra had 48 assists and 20 digs for her 13th of the season.

“Kelli Beccera, the team’s setter, doesn’t always get the credit she deserves, but she played a very good game,” said head coach Lisa Seifert.

The Mustangs defeated Houston on Saturday for their 11th straight home game, tying the school record set in 2003 for most games won in Moody Coliseum. SMU is now 17-7 overall and 7-3 in C-USA.

The match also featured the Dig Pink event, which was sponsored by the Side-Out Foundation to raise money and awareness for breast cancer research. The team and the coaches were accordingly dressed in pink and the Mustangs raffled off their pink jerseys after the game. The auction also included an autographed football by SMU head football coach June Jones. SMU raised $1,245 during the event.

In the first set, the Mustangs and the Cougars were neck in neck for the lead. But, with the Mustangs leading by a point, 18-17, the offense came to life, outscoring Houston, 7-3, to win the set, 25-20.

The Mustangs started the second set with a strong lead, 11-6, and continued to push, eventually taking an overwhelming lead, 19-11, before taking the set. In the third set, which would prove to be the final set, SMU stepped up their defensive game and took a commanding lead at 18-10. The Cougars tried to battle back but to no avail, and the Mustangs closed out the set for the victory.

Both Powell and Kahanek had 10 kills for the night. Kahanek, who broke the blocking record the night before, had another strong blocking game. Sophomore Jessica Oliver also played well, following behind Powell and Kahanek with six kills.

“The girls’ good work ethic and chemistry led the team to victory,” Seifert said. “It was a team win. Everyone did their job.”

The team out-hit Houston .311 to .110 overall to defeat the Cougars, who fell to 7-19 overall and 4-7 in C-USA. The win kept the Mustangs in a tie for fourth place with Marshall University.

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