March 29, 2013
MIAMI, Fla. - The Green Wave posted straight-set victories in four of five courts and narrowly lost the fifth in three as the Tulane University sand volleyball team opened the Doctors Hospital FIU Surf & Turf Tournament with a 4-1 win over Florida Atlantic on Friday morning at the FIU Sand Courts.
The win was the third in a row for the Green Wave - marking a school record for consecutive victories - as Tulane improved to 5-1 on the season. It came in the first of four dual-match outings for Tulane during a two-day stretch as the Wave will take on host Florida International at 9:30 a.m. before squaring off against Pepperdine and Georgia State at 12:30 and 3:30 p.m., respectively, on Saturday.
"We played really well," Tulane head sand volleyball coach Alan Segal said. "We won four of the five matches and the only one we lost we lost in three. It was close. I thought the girls did a really nice job and played good volleyball today. It was a good way to start the tournament off. I thought we played well."
For the third consecutive match, the Green Wave got solid production from the bottom of the line-up to take an early 2-0 lead. Freshman Mackenzie Moore and sophomore Olivia Utt scored Tulane's first point at No. 5 with a 21-14, 21-7 victory over FAU's Nicole Pombrio and Jennifer St. Sume while junior Azarri Badawi and rookie Jackie Wegner followed suit with a 21-11, 21-7 decision over the Owls' Megan Knapp and Alisha Noble in No. 4 action.
Sophomores Grace Weaver and Anna Wruck clinched the team win with a 21-6, 21-10 victory over Isabelle Arboleda and Megan Evans on Court 2, and the Green Wave also posted a 21-9, 21-17 victory at the top of the lineup with freshman Sophie Asprey and junior Cori Martone coming out on top of Jelena Jovanovic and Alessia Pizzoccheri.
Four Tulane players finished with double-digit kill totals as Jackson and Wegner each had 11 while Asprey and Liddle tallied 10 each. Liddle, Martone and Wruck shared team-high blocking honors with three apiece. Wruck tallied a team-high five service aces while Aprey and Wruck each posted three.
Saturday's slate will be a difficult one for Tulane as Pepperdine is the defending AVCA National Champion and sit atop the current poll in 2013 while Florida International enters the weekend ranked No. 6.
"It should be a good day. We should be competitive. I think we can be competitive with anybody if we play the way we are capable of playing. I think they're having fun and they're playing at a high level. We just have to control the ball and do the little things. As long as you do the little things, you'll always be competitive.
"I think it's good to play against better competition. It makes you play better. If you're a competitor, you like to play against better teams. It makes you better as a player and lets you see how you stack up against everybody else."
The five-team tournament concludes on Sunday with five participating teams taking part in a pairs tournament. Each team's tandems will be paired up with their counterparts from other programs and a single-elimination tournament will begin at 7 a.m. (CDT).
After the conclusion of the Doctors Hospital FIU Surf & Turf Tournament, the Green Wave will head to Atlanta for the Georgia State Sand Invitational from April 6-7. Tulane will conclude the regular season at the Fiesta at Siesta Tournament from April 12-14 in Siesta Key, Fla.
TULANE GREEN WAVE DEFEATS FLORIDA ATLANTIC OWLS: 4-1
No. 1: Sophie Asprey / Cori Martone (TLN) def. Jelena Jovanovic / Alessia Pizzoccheri (FAU) - 21-9, 21-17
No. 2: Grace Weaver / Anna Wruck (TLN) def. Isabelle Arboleda / Megan Evans (FAU) - 21-6, 21-10
No. 3: Andrea Galinis / Darija Sataric (FAU) def. Elysa Jackson / Courtney Liddle (TLN) - 21-15, 17-21, 15-10
No. 4: Azarri Badawi / Jackie Wegner (TLN) def. Megan Knapp / Alisha Noble (FAU) - 21-11, 21-17
No. 5: Mackenzie Moore / Olivia Utt (TLN) def. Nicole Pombrio / Jennifer St. Sume (FAU) - 21-14, 21-7