Sophomore Grace Weaver and the Tulane sand volleyball team made their first-ever appearance in the national ranking, claiming the No. 9 spot in the most recent AVCA poll.
April 4, 2013
NEW ORLEANS - The Tulane University sand volleyball team has enjoyed a sudden rise in prominence so far during its second season on the dunes, and the American Volleyball Coaches Association took notice while listing the Green Wave as the No. 9 team in the nation in its most recent poll released on Thursday afternoon.
The national ranking is the first for the Tulane program and comes one week after posting wins in three of its four dual matches during the Doctors Hospital FIU Surf & Turf Tournament in Miami. During the tourney, the Green Wave posted a 4-1 win over Florida Atlantic on Friday before sandwiching 4-1 victories over host and then-No. 6 Florida International as well as Georgia State between a 5-0 loss to No. 1 Pepperdine on Saturday. The win over the Panthers was Tulane's first-ever victory over a ranked opponent.
"This is a tremendous honor for our program," Tulane sand volleyball coach Alan Segal said. "It shows that we are building a quality program here at Tulane. Our record speaks for itself and we are excited to see that the sand volleyball community respects our accomplishments so far. There is still a lot left to do, though, and we'll be put to the test this weekend."
The newly-ranked Wave have little time to celebrate, however, as Tulane will open play in the Georgia State Sand Invitational on Saturday, April 6, at the GSU Sand Volleyball Complex in Atlanta. Joining the Green Wave in the four-team field are host Georgia State, No. 3 Florida State and ULM.
Tulane opens tournament play on Saturday at 7:30 a.m. (CDT) and will wrap up the dual-match portion of the event against ULM at 1:30 p.m. that same day. From there, the four programs will compete in a pairs tournament with each teams' respective duos going against counterparts from other schools. The pairs portion of Saturday's tournament will begin at 3:30 p.m. and will continue on Sunday starting at 7 a.m. with the championship finals slated for approximately 2:30 p.m.
The Green Wave head to Atlanta 7-2 on the year and coming off a 4-1 win over Georgia State in the Surf & Turf finale. Junior Azarri Badawi, sophomore Olivia Utt and freshman Mackenzie Moore are tied for the team lead with eight wins each, and the tandem of Moore and Utt have combined for a team-best 7-2 record in No. 5 action.
Florida State enters the Georgia State Sand Invitational 9-2 on the year and winners of its last four matches, including a 4-1 win over Jacksonville and a 5-0 sweep of Stetson last Saturday. ULM, meanwhile, is 4-3 to date and will play a Friday-night match at UAB before heading to Atlanta.
While Saturday's contest will be the first meeting of the season between Tulane and Florida State, the teams twice played during the 2012 campaign and the Seminoles won both of those contest, 5-0. Tulane and ULM squared off earlier in the year when the Warhawks bounced back from a 2-0 deficit to defeat the Green Wave, 3-2, on the opening day of the Tulane Pelican Classic on March 15 at Coconut Beach in Kenner, La.
Following the Georgia State Sand Invitational, Tulane will conclude the regular season at the Fiesta at Siesta Tournament from April 12-14 in Siesta Key, Fla.
2013 AVCA SAND VOLLEYBALL POLL (April 4, 2013)
Rank School Record Previous 1 Pepperdine 10-0 1 2 Long Beach 9-1 2 3 Florida State 9-2 4 4 USC 9-4 3 5 Hawai'i 3-3 5 T6 Nebraska 4-5 9 T6 UCLA 2-3 7 8 Florida International 5-5 6 9 Tulane 7-2 NR 10 Stanford 1-0 10