DALLAS (SMU) – The Mustangs fell in heartbreaking fashion Sunday, falling 3-1 to Rice in Moody Coliseum after the Owls stole the final two sets by two points each to spoil SMU’s Senior Day celebration (25-21, 21-25, 26-24, 25-23). Despite the loss, the Mustangs advanced to the Conference USA Championship Friday, Nov. 16-Sunday, Nov. 18 in Tulsa, Okla. SMU will face No. 1 seed Tulsa at noon on Friday.
Caroline Young led the Mustangs with a match-high 20 kills, reaching 20 in a match for the seventh time this season, and had five digs and three blocks with an ace. Maddie Lozano added 12 kills and five blocks. Freshman Abbey Bybel scored nine kills with seven digs.
Olivia Bailey posted her seventh double-double of the season with 44 assists and 14 digs, and Susan Lewis had 14 digs and five assists. Courtney Manning had four blocks in the match, pushing her career total to 569, just nine away from climbing to second all-time in Conference USA history.
After falling 25-21 in the first set, the Mustangs evened the match in the second with a 25-21 win. Leading 8-7, Bybel blasted a kill to send Bailey to the service line for the Mustangs. The senior scored a pair of aces and stretched the lead to five, 12-7, before Rice earned the serve back. SMU held the advantage at the end to win the set.
The Mustangs (10-18, 7-9 C-USA) had a chance to take a 2-1 lead in the match at the end of the third set, but Savannah Myklebust’s attack on set point was blocked by the Owls, tying the set 24-24. Rice (19-11, 12-4 C-USA) went on to score the next two points to take the set 26-24 for a 2-1 lead. Rice won the match in the fourth, erasing SMU’s lead for another two-point win, 25-23.
After the C-USA Championship, the Mustangs will return to Moody Coliseum for a match against North Texas Nov. 21 at 4 p.m. SMU will conclude the regular season at home against Baylor on Nov. 24 at 1 p.m.