HOUSTON -- A busy home athletic weekend for Houston Athletics will begin Friday evening at 5 p.m. when the University of Houston volleyball team welcomes cross-town, Conference USA rival Rice to the Athletics/Alumni Center.
The Cougars are returning to action having dropped their last two contests on the road in league play, but look to build on its solid play at home of late when it hosts their next three matches in front of Cougar Faithful.
DIG PINK - COOGS FOR THE CURE Houston Volleyball will team up and host its annual Dig Pink match in support of breast cancer awareness. The team will wear pink jerseys, which will be auctioned off following the game. A silent auction will be in effect with items ranging from Houston Texans, Dynamo, Aeros, and Rockets tickets. The first 100 fans will receive a Dig Pink volleyball t-shirt.
SAAC HUNGER FOOD DRIVE The annual "Let's SAAC Hunger" food drive is in full force beginning Friday. Houston SAAC and Conference USA have teamed up to host the event, encouraging fans to bring canned good items to home events for the conference-wide contest between affiliated member schools. Fans can bring 5 canned goods to Friday's volleyball match and receive half price off an admission ticket ($8 à $4).
ABOUT HOUSTON Houston sits at 6-15 overall and 5-6 in Conference USA play. The Cougars are led by senior Katie Norris' 300 kills and 3.85 per set. Fellow seniors Chandace Tryon and Stephanie Nwachukwu follow with 214 and 140 kills, respectively. Senior setter Abby Simmons paces the offensive attack with 694 assists. Defensively, sophomore libero Natalie Keck has 280 digs, while Norris follows with 195. Tryon leads the way on the blocking end with 83 total blocks, 18 coming solo. As a team, Houston out blocks its opponents 157.0 to 129.0.
ABOUT RICE Rice enters Friday's contest with a 16-9 overall record and a 9-2 mark in Conference USA play, ranking second behind Tulsa in league standings heading into the weekend. The Owls are led by Nancy Cole's 320 kills and Megan Murphy's 1,015 assists. Defensively, five Owls have over 200 digs, led by Daniela Arenas' 340, while Jillian Humphrey has 105 total blocks.
SERIES HISTORY Houston and Rice will meet for the 81st time in school history with the Cougars leading the all-time series at 60-19. Rice earned a 3-0 victory on Sept. 18 at Tudor Fieldhouse for a 1-0 season advantage. The last time these two teams met in the Athletics/Alumni Center was the season finale on Nov. 23, 2011when the Cougars earned a thrilling 3-2 victory.
STAY CONNECTED Follow Houston Volleyball on Twitter @UHCougarVB and "Like" /HoustonCougarVolleyball on Facebook.