Sand Volleyball Falls At Arizona In Wildcat Spring Challenge Finale

TULANEGREENWAVE.COM Sophomore Jackie Wegner was one of two Green Wave student-athletes to claim All-Tournament honors at the Wildcat Spring Challenge.
Sophomore Jackie Wegner was one of two Green Wave student-athletes to claim All-Tournament honors at the Wildcat Spring Challenge.

March 15, 2014


TUCSON, Ariz. - Upon first glance at the scoreboard following Tulane's sand volleyball showdown with Arizona, it would appear as if the host Wildcats were the far superior team by virtue of their 5-0 win over the Green Wave in the finale of the Wildcat Spring Challenge on Saturday afternoon.

A closer look, however, would paint a much different picture as four of the five matches went to winner-take-all third sets only to have the Green Wave come up just short each time. In defeat, Tulane dropped 2-3 on the year while Arizona remained undefeated at 5-0.

"Arizona is the strongest team we've faced this season and we competed well against them, losing four of five flights in the tie-breaking third set," first-year Tulane head coach Wayne Holly said. "Counting yesterday's dual against Arizona State, that's six matches in two days that went to the tie-breaker. That tells me that we are very close to turning the corner and converting all of this learning into results.

"We're never satisfied with a loss but we continue to see growth and movement in the right direction with this team. One of our goals this weekend was to become more aggressive offensively and the statistics we use to track our progress shows improvement. We are taking more swings and improving our kill efficiency on a daily basis."

At the top of the lineup, Tulane freshman Tea Juric and sophomore Jackie Wegner rallied from a 23-21 opening-set loss to Jane Croson and Madi Kingdon with a 26-24 second-set win before falling in the deciding stanza, 15-10. In was a similar situation at No. 4 and No. 5 for the Green Wave as the respective teams of sophomore Courtney Liddle and junior Olivia Utt as well the freshman duo of Miah Diirell and Sarah Strasner fell in the opener, won the second set and fell in the third.



Liddle and Utt narrowly fell to Allie Cook and Penina Snuka in the first set, 21-19, won the rematch, 21-17, and dropped the final frame, 15-8. Diirell and Strasner, meanwhile, dropped a lopsided 21-11 initial stanza to Emily Kiser and Sarah Seiber and returned the favor with a 21-16 decision in the second period before falling in the third, 15-9.

In contrast, freshman Hannah Holmes and junior Anna Wruck rolled out to a 21-13 opening-set win over Arizona's Ronni Lewis and Rachel Rhoades, 21-13, before falling in the next two frames 21-18, and 15-11. The lone contest not to go three sets came on Court 2 where the Wildcat tandem of Madison and McKenna Witt defeated the Green Wave's Annie Shurtz and Grace Weaver by consecutive scores of 21-12.

With Saturday's loss to the Wildcats and a day-one split courtesy of a 5-0 sweep of Arizona Christian and a 3-2 loss to Arizona State on Friday, the Green Wave finish the Wildcat Spring Challenge with a 1-2 record. Along the way, Holmes and Wegner claimed All-Tournament honors.

"While we had several great performances this weekend, Hannah and Jackie are deserving of the honor," Holly said. "They both made significant contributions to the team's success and improved substantially in several areas we identified going into the weekend, including being our two most efficient servers all weekend long.

"Hannah has made great strides in improving her offense. She is the consummate partner and always makes the person she plays with better. Jackie is one of our most skilled and experienced beach athletes. She has all of the skills in the game and her defense, setting and siding out helped her team come within a few plays of winning three matches this weekend."

Tulane returns to action on Wednesday, March 29, when the Green Wave open the home portion of the 2014 schedule against in-state rival and first-year program LSU at 2 p.m. at Coconut Beach in Kenner, La. Admission to all home sand volleyball contests is free.

No. 1: Jane Croson / Madi Kingdon (UA) def. Tea Juric / Jackie Wegner (TLN) - 23-21, 24-26, 15-10
No. 2: Madison Witt / McKenna Witt (UA) def. Annie Shurtz / Grace Weaver (TLN) - 21-12, 21-12
No. 3: Ronni Lewis / Rachel Rhoades (UA) def. Hannah Holmes / Anna Wruck (TLN) - 13-21, 21-18, 15-11
No. 4: Allie Cook / Penina Snuka (UA) def. Courtney Liddle / Olivia Utt (TLN) - 21-19, 17-21, 15-8
No. 5: Emily Kiser / Sarah Seiber (UA) def. Miah Diirell / Sarah Strasner (TLN) - 21-11, 16-21, 15-9

Rachel Rhoades - Arizona
Ronni Lewis - Arizona
Jackie Wegner - Tulane
Hannah Holmes - Tulane
Bethany Jorgensen - Arizona State
Bianca Arellano - Arizona State
Hailey Worden - Arizona Christian
Betsy Caulfield - Arizona Christian