Sophomore Courtney Liddle and the Green Wave play host to in-state rival LSU on Wednesday afternoon at Coconut Beach.
March 25, 2014
NEW ORLEANS - A new chapter in the longstanding rivalry between Tulane and LSU will be opened on Wednesday, March 26, when the Green Wave sand volleyball team plays host to the Lady Tigers at 2 p.m. at Coconut Beach in Kenner, La. Admission to all Tulane home sand volleyball contests is free.
Both teams enter the midweek matchup 2-3 on the season but the biggest difference in the two programs to date is that Tulane is in its third season taking the dunes while the Lady Tigers are in the midst of their inaugural campaign. The midweek matchup is the first home meet of the year for Tulane, which participated in the Stetson Spring Break Duals in DeLand, Fla., from March 7-8 and at the Wildcat Spring Challenge in Tucson, Ariz., last weekend.
"The girls are really happy that we're going to be home, and I think the fans are going to come out as well," first-year Tulane head coach Wayne Holly said. "It's a single match - just one dual - which is great, so we'll have a lot of energy. This is a fantastic opportunity to start a new rivalry against our in-state friends LSU.
"[With LSU being a first-year program] it's a little bit of an unknown and that can make you a bit uneasy. At the end of the day, it comes down to skill. If we pass the ball well, if we set well, if we see the court. It probably doesn't matter who we play or what we know about them. We're not focusing on any history or success against them. We're just going to try and play well, take care of our side of the court and see what happens."
The Green Wave will be looking to snap a two-match skid when they take the courts against LSU as Tulane followed up a 5-0 win over Arizona Christian in the Wildcat Spring Challenge with a 3-2 loss to Arizona State and a 5-0 defeat at the hands of host Arizona. Tulane's other win came via a 3-2 decision against Florida Gulf Coast on March 7.
The top pairs team of freshman Tea Juric and Jackie Wegner lead the team with a 7-4 overall record after going 5-1 in pairs play and 2-3 in dual-match action. The tandems of freshman Annie Shurtz and junior Grace Weaver along with the combination of rookie Hannah Holmes and junior Anna Wruck are tied for second on the squad with 4-4 records each. At the conclusion of the Wildcat Spring Challenge, Holmes and Wegner were named to the All-Tournament Team.
"We've gotten better every single time we've taken the court," Holly said. "We got a lot better from week one to week two, and we competed very well against top teams last week in Arizona. Our goal was get a little bit better last week, and I think we did. If we can improve our game by two percent each week, we're going to be fine."
LSU, meanwhile, has won two of its last three matches and are looking to bounce back from a 3-2 loss to Mercer on Sunday at the Gamecock Invitational in Columbia, S.C. After opening the season with 3-2 losses to both ULM and College of Charleston, the Lady Tigers rattled off consecutive 4-1 wins over Oregon and South Carolina before coming up just short against the Bears.
Following the Tulane/LSU contest, the Green Wave will host an intrasquad at Coconut Beach on Saturday before hosting UAB and Webber International next weekend in the Tulane Pelican Classic. The Green Wave open the two-day event on Friday, April 4, when they take on UAB at 11 a.m. UAB will face Webber International at 12:45 p.m. and Tulane will close out dual-match play against Webber International at 2:30 p.m. From there, the three teams will square off in a pairs tournament on Saturday with bracket and format yet to be announced.