Aug. 31, 2002
SAN DIEGO, Calif. - San Diego natives Deva Fowler and Kim Swafford combined for 21 kills, four aces, six blocks and four digs, but it was not enough as the Tulane University volleyball team dropped a three-game match to No. 20 UC-Santa Barbara Saturday afternoon in day two of the Ramada Invitational.
After dropping the first two games with identical 30-21 scores, Tulane (0-2) had the Gauchos (2-0) on the ropes in the third stanza before falling to the nationally-prominent program 30-28. But in spite of the loss, Tulane head coach Betsy Becker feels her team made significant strides as the contest progressed.
"As the match went on, we were able to put a complete game together," Becker said. "The difference was real points when we were serving as opposed to siding out. Deva and Swafford came out today and helped us offensively. We add them to the consistency that Britney (Hurst) has displayed, and when we get Nitia (Small) more comfortable with what we're doing, we're really going to be a solid team."
"If we have capitalized on our real points, the outcome could have been different. We have to give Santa Barbara for how good they are, both ball-control wise and firepower."
Fowler and Hurst shared team-high kills honors with 11 each, while Swafford tallied 10 to go with a match-high .533 attack percentage. Hurst led the Tulane defense with seven digs, and Fowler tallied two solo blocks and two block assists.
The Gauchos took an early 2-0 lead in game one, but the Green Wave would not go away as Tulane hung around with the nationally-ranked program for most of the stanza. Tulane was within four points of UCSB on a number of occasions, but after the Green Wave cut the lead to 18-15, Santa Barbara distance itself from Tulane with a 6-0 run, including five consecutive kills by Courtney Guerra, to take a 24-17 advantage. Tulane was able to cut the lead to four with a 3-0 run, but the advantage proved to be too big to overcome as the Gauchos took a 30-21 win.
Tulane roared out the gate in the third stanza and claimed a 13-6 lead early on. Santa Barbara would chip away, though and eventually tie the score at 23-all. The two teams would trade the next 10 points, but with the score knotted at 28-all, the Gauchos called their second time out and were able to set up the final two plays to account for the winning margin.
"Any time you make the coach of ranked team call two timeouts, you know you're doing something right," Becker said. "We're going to tweak a few things with our sideout plays to get an automatic point, and build on the successes we have in this match. Kathy Gregory (Santa Barbara's coach) told our team that we're a good club. She said that it took them everything they had to get through that third game and that she feels that we're going to have a good season."
Danielle Bauere led three Gauchos with double-digit kill totals with 14. Erica Menzel was second with 13, followed by Francina Edmonds with 10. Baure tallied a double-double with 17 digs, and Kritin Nelson was second on the team with 10.
The Green Wave returns to action later today when they close out play in the Ramada Invitational as Tulane takes on Florida International at 7 p.m.