Sophomore Milena Dragovic (pictured) teamed with senior Nikki Osuna to post a three-set win in No. 2 play on Friday against Florida Gulf Coast.
April 13, 2012
SIESTA KEY, Fla. - The Green Wave tandems of Milena Dragovic and Nikki Osuna along with the team of Azarri Badawi and Olivia Utt posted wins on Courts 2 and 5, resepectively, but it was not enough as the Tulane University sand volleyball team dropped a 3-2 road decision to Florida Gulf Coast on Friday afternoon.
The win by Badawi and Utt was the second in as many outings for the Green Wave pair while the duo of Dragovic and Osuna earned their first victory of the 2012 season. In defeat, Tulane fell to 1-9 on the year. Florida Gulf Coast, meanwhile, won its fourth straight contest to improve to 4-3 overall.
"Florida Gulf Coast was a good match-up for us, and the overall decision came down to just one point here and there," Tulane acting head coach Jaye Loyd said. "We had chances and showed great improvement from the beginning of the year and even last week's matches.
"We've got to learn how to push through when the other team has momentum. Like most teams, this is our first year playing sand volleyball at this level and there is still a lot of learning going on. We'll learn from this and try and continue to improve over the next two days."
The Eagles drew first blood as Jill Hopper and Whitney Masters posted a 21-18, 21-11 decision over Tulane's Shefali Arora and Amber Bennett on Court 4, but the Green Wave answered in the form of Azarri and Utt as the pair rebounded from a 21-15 opening set defeat to win the next two frames 21-17 and 15-8 to knot the match at 1-1.
The Wave took a 2-1 advantage as Dragovic and Osuna sandwiched 21-18 and 15-11 victories around a 21-15 loss against the Eagles' No. 2 tandem of Karina Mambuca and Olivia Mesner. That, however, would be the final point of the day for Tulane as Florida Gulf Coast re-tied the match when Brooke Kohler and Brittany Muse downed Lilly Wolfe and Anna Wruck on Court 3 21-14, 20-22, 15-8 before the No. 1 team of Holly Youngquist and Kaitlin Holm swept past Tulane's Cori Martone and Grace Weaver 21-13, 21-17.
The Green Wave return to action on Saturday, April 14, when the participate in the Fiesta At Siesta Key. Tulane is one of two teams from Louisiana to take part in the tournament, joining UL-Monroe. In addition, Division I Florida schools Florida, Florida Atlantic, Florida Christian, Florida International, Florida State, Jacksonville, Miami, Stetson, South Florida, UCF and host Florida Gulf Coast will be on hand, along with Ave Maria, College of Charleston, Pasco-Hernando Community College, South Florida Community College, St. Catherine, St. Leo, St. Petersburg, State College of Florida, Union College and Webber International.
From there, Tulane will take on Webber International in a head-to-head matchup on Sunday in Tampa, Fla. Sunday's match against the Warriors is the Green Wave's final regular-season. The AVCA Sand Volleyball Championship is slated for April 27 in Gulf Shores, Ala.
FLORIDA GULF COAST EAGLES (4-3) DEFEATS TULANE GREEN WAVE (1-9): 3-2
No. 1: Holly Youngquist / Kaitlin Holm (FGCU) def. Cori Martone / Grace Weaver (TLN) - 21-13, 21-17
No. 2: Milena Dragovic / Nikki Osuna (TLN) def. Karina Mambuca / Olivia Mesner (FGCU) - 21-18, 15-21, 15-11
No. 3: Brooke Kohler / Brittany Muse (FGCU) def. Lilly Wolfe / Anna Wruck (TLN) - 21-14, 20-22, 15-8
No. 4: Jill Hopper / Whitney Masters (FGCU) def. Shefali Arora / Amber Bennett (TLN) - 21-18, 21-11
No. 5: Azarri Badawi / Olivia Utt (TLN) def. Gigi Meyer / Lindsey Childs (FGCU) - 15-21, 21-17, 15-8