April 3, 2014
NEW ORLEANS - The Tulane University sand volleyball team returns to action over the weekend when the Green Wave play host to UAB, ULM and Webber International in the Tulane Pelican Classic from April 4-5 at Coconut Beach in Kenner, La.
Friday's action will be dual-match play with the Green Wave kicking off the two-day event with a 9 a.m. showdown against UAB. From there, Tulane will face Webber International at 11:45 before UAB and Webber International took the dunes at 2:15 p.m. All three match times were moved up from their originally-scheduled times due to inclement weather in the forecast.
The Last Meeting
March 16, 2013
The Last Meeting
April 15, 2012
"We're hoping to come out and compete, but the weather is going to be a bit of a challenge for us," first-year Tulane head coach Wayne Holly said. "We had another great week of practice. What I really want to look for is to come out, have a presence out there team wide, and compete hard. We're looking to get two wins on Friday. That would give us a nice boost and a nice record.
"The pairs tournament is a great event because it gets us more action. A dual can be over in an hour or 40 minutes. It's just three games...Our No. 1 team already picked up a pairs victory in DeLand [Fla.] and we're hoping to do it again. It's great experience for our 3s, 4s and 5s, and hopefully we can get into the finals of that bracket, too."
Tulane enters the weekend 3-3 in dual-match action and fresh off a 3-2 win over LSU back on March 26. In that match, the Green Wave got big wins at No. 4 and No. 5 from both Courtney Liddle and Olivia Utt as well as Mia Diirell and Sarah Strasner before the top tandem of Tea Juric and Jackie Wegner sealed the team victory with a straight-sets win at No. 1.
For the year, Juric and Wegner lead the Wave with an 8-4 overall record while sharing the dual-match wins mark at 3-3 with both Liddle and Utt in addition to Annie Shurtz and Grace Weaver. Juric and Wegner sport a 5-1 record in pairs play and came away with the Upper Bracket title during the Stetson Spring Break Duals.
UAB, which will play at ULM on Thursday, packed a 2-5 dual-match record for its three-day road trip after last participating in the Gamecock Invitational from March 22-23, in Columbia, S.C. The Blazers won two of their four matches that weekend with a pair of pairs posting 4-0 records along the way. UAB's No. 1 tandem of Kiriana Hirini and Bethanie Thomas are 6-1 on the yar while Rachel Fairbanks and Sara Rishell are 4-2 to date.
Webber International, meanwhile, heads to New Orleans with a 4-0 dual-match record while also posting several win in tournament play against Division I opponents. Playing as a member of the NAIA, the Warriors have a pair of wins over Florida Atlantic as well as single-victories in dual and exhibition play against Georgia State and Jacksonville.
"These are two good opponents, frankly," Holly said of Tulane's two dual-match opponents. "Webber International is coming in, and while I haven't seem much of them, they're coming in with a nice record. I expect them to be a challenge. They're a good sized team. They've been playing a lot. I know they play on a beach and they play in a lot of events that some college teams don't. They're an experienced team and expect them to be a nice challenge.
"UAB has historically played us tough. I know they have a lot of players we've played against on the indoor side. They're good players. They're well coached. I expect this to be a real battle for us. If we can get two wins, this would be two wins that we could be proud of."
While Tulane won't be playing ULM in team competition, the Warhawks will be a big part of pairs play. As a team, ULM enters the week 2-9 after dropping matches to College of Charleston and top-ranked Pepperdine last weekend at the Georgia State Tournament in Atlanta. The Warhawks' top tandem of Zuzana Markova and Marcela Araya finished third in the pairs tournament, falling to the eventual champions from Pepperdine while improving to 10-3 on the year.
"ULM has a really good program over there," Holly added. "They have a really unique style of play that we're trying to practice around to make sure we can defend that well. With those three teams and us in there, there should be some good battles and a long day of good competition."