Junior Olivia Utt teamed with sophomore Courtney Liddle to defeat ULM's Rachel Arnason and Alannah Cullum in straight sets at No. 4 pairs play.
April 8, 2014
MONROE, La. - The Green Wave posted wins in No. 3 and No. 4 pairs play, but it was not enough as the Tulane University sand volleyball team dropped a 3-2 decision to ULM on a weather-plagued Tuesday afternoon at the ULM Sand Volleyball Courts.
After initially being delayed due to heavy rain, the match between the Green Wave and the Warhawks was later halted for 45 minutes because of lightning in the area. Despite the starts and stops, the two teams sat deadlocked at two wins apiece before ULM came out with a victory in No. 2 play to provide the final outcome.
The loss snapped Tulane's three-match winning streak as the Green Wave fell to 5-4 on the season. ULM, meanwhile, won its second-straight match to improve to 4-9 overall.
"This is not a result we expected and it is a bitter pill to swallow," first-year Tulane head coach Wayne Holly said. "While we have been playing better volleyball lately, today was a step backwards. The good news is that our team will not be defined by its results or performance on any one day. We'll be defined by our response to adversity in the training room, in the film room and on the practice court. We need to, and will, improve our tactical understanding of the game team wide and that comes with extensive study, mindful practice and relentless craving for excellence."
The match opened with a split in the opening round of play as ULM's Celine Flores and Kaitlyn Shearer posted a 21-18, 21-16 win over Tulane freshmen Miah Diirell and Sarah Strasner at No. 5 before the Green Wave tandem of junior Olivia Utt and sophomore Courtney Liddle evened the score with a 22-20, 21-16 decision against the Warhawks' Rachel Arnason and Allanah Cullum.
ULM took a 2-1 lead in the overall race when the top tandem of Marcela Araya and Zuzana Markova rolled past Tulane's team of freshman Tea Juric and sophomore Jackie Wegner by back-to-back scores of 21-12, but a gutty effort by freshman Hannah Holmes and junior Anna Wruck led the Green Wave tandem to an 18-21, 21-18, 15-12 win over the Warhawks' Hope Pawlik and Hadley Swartz to tie the match at 2-all.
In the match-deciding contest, Tulane junior Grace Weaver and Annie Shurtz bounced back from a 21-16 opening-set loss to Michelle McNamee and Blanca Ocana to sit tied at 20-all late in the second set. From there, however, the ULM tandem scored to straight points to clinch the dual.
"Individually, Hannah and Anna secured a great win for us on the No. 3 court," Holly added. "With our team down 2-1, Anna and Hannah forced a tie at 2-2 with a very well-played, three-set victory. They played marvelously under pressure and gave us a shot at winning the dual.
"Courtney and Olivia also were rewarded with improved play when they secured an efficient 2-0 victory on the No. 4 court. We asked them to create more with their serve and better manage the tempo of their offense. They were able to make some nice fixes in the game and earned a well-deserved win."
Tuesday's match at ULM was the first of three contests on the Green Wave's slate this week as Tulane will play Florida State in the Sunshine State on Friday before participating in the Fiesta at Siesta Key on April 11-12.
ULM WARHAWKS (4-9) DEFEATS TULANE GREEN WAVE (5-4): 3-2
No. 1: Marcela Araya / Zuzana Markova (ULM) def. Tea Juric / Jackie Wegner (TLN) - 21-12, 21-12
No. 2: Michelle McNamee / Blanca Ocana (ULM) def. Annie Shurtz / Grace Weaver (TLN) - 21-16, 22-20
No. 3: Hannah Holmes / Anna Wruck (TLN) def. Hope Pawlik / Hadley Swartz (ULM) - 18-21, 21-18, 15-12
No. 4: Courtney Liddle / Olivia Utt (TLN) def. Rachel Arnason / Alannah Cullum (ULM) - 22-20, 21-16
No. 5: Celine Flores / Kaitlyn Shearer (ULM) def. Miah Diirell / Sarah Strasner (TLN) - 21-18, 21-16