Aug. 27, 2010
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M - It wasn't an easy way to open the season, but the Tulane volleyball team improved during each set of their 3-0 loss to #4 Stanford in the opener of the MCM Elegante Lobo Classic hosted by the University of New Mexico.
The Olive and Blue (0-1) fell by scores of 11-25, 16-25 and 19-25 to the nationally-ranked Cardinal, collecting a higher number of kills in each of the three sets. Of the seven starters for TU, four were freshman, two were seniors and junior Nikki Osuna started at libero.
"Tonight we played one of the better teams in the nation," said head coach Sinisa Momic. "I think our players were a little surprised at the level (Stanford) played at, but as the game wore on we continued to improve. This was a tough team to open the season with, but at times we traded point-for-point with them and I could see our players really starting to rise to the occasion. (Stanford) is a team that will contend for a national championship this season and getting our players experience at that level will help them greatly."
In the opening set of the season, Tulane couldn't overcome a nearly perfect opening set from the Cardinal. The Green Wave trailed 5-2 after a kill from Milica Jovic, but Stanford (1-0) extended their lead with a quick 6-1 run and went on to a first-set win. TU hit just .077 for the opening frame with six kills and four errors on 26 total attacks. On the other sideline, Stanford boasted a .621 hitting percentage with 19 kill on 29 total attacks and just one error.
The second set was an improvement from the first, with the Green Wave hitting .111 with eight kills and their lone service ace of the contest. Izabela Grot had four kills in the second set, while Jovic and Lindsey Shepard each chipped in two. Tulane took an early 2-0 lead, but Stanford eventually built a 9-5 lead and eventually scored the final five points of the set to claim the 25-16 win.
Grot led the Green Wave offense with ten kills on 22 attempts and no errors for a .455 hitting percentage. Jovic had eight kills, Shepard and Martone each collected three kills, while Badawi added two kills in her collegiate debut. A pair of setters each dished out double-digit assists, with redshirt-freshman Elysa Jackson tallying 13 helpers and true freshman Mel Mandelbaum added 11 assists.
Tulane will finish their stay at the MCM Elegante Classic with a pair of matches on Saturday, August 28 in Albuquerque, N.M. The Green Wave will open with a 3:00 match against host New Mexico and close out the day with a 6:00 duel versus Pepperdine.