Aug. 31, 2012
BEAUMONT, Texas - Neither Hurricane Isaac or a lengthy bus ride could deter the Tulane volleyball program from picking up their first victory of the 2012 season on Friday night at the Lamar Invitational with a four-set triumph over Louisiana Tech. The Green Wave had three players crack the ten-kill plateau and used an efficient fourth set to close out the match by scores of 25-22, 19-25, 25-21, 25-16 at McDonald Gym.
Cori Martone paced all players with 16 kills and tied for the team-high with 14 digs to post her third double-double of the year and the junior helped right the offense and lead them to the four set win.
"You could tell we were a little tired," said Tulane head coach Sinisa Momic, "and I think we had some heavy legs after a long day of travel. In the end, though, we were able to cut down on our hitting errors and really close out the fourth set with some momentum. We have a good number of quality hitters, but right now it is about who is on during a certain match and tonight we had good contributions from multiple players.
Tulane (1-3) trailed most of the opening set, but were able to rally late with six straight points to close out a 25-22 victory. The Green Wave found themselves ahead by one point at 15-14, but Louisiana Tech (0-5) responded with an 8-3 run to put them in position to take the opening set. After the Emily Maher kill pushed the Lady Techsters out to a four point lead, the Olive and Blue raddled off six straight points and snatched a victory from the jaws of defeat. Two kills from Grace Weaver and a kill each by Martone and Milica Jovic knotted the set at 22 points and three straight hitting errors by La Tech pushed Tulane out to the early lead.
"We started the match by using both setters and then switched to a 6-1 system in the end," said Momic, "and being so balanced offensively and having more hitters really helped us out. Everyone contributed and we were able to move the ball around and give them some different looks. When you look at the box score there was no one that really stood out, but that is because we moved the ball around well."
The third set wasn't much better on the attack for Tulane, who hit just .036 in the third stanza, but they limited LTU to just eight kills and a .000 attacking percentage. The only tie of the third set was at 2-2, but TU built a six point lead twice, the last at 20-14 when Anna Wruck converted one of her four kills in the set. From there, the two teams traded points until an attacking error by Louisiana Tech gave Tulane a 2-1 lead in the match.
After working off the rust, Tulane boasted a .216 attacking percentage and forced La Tech to a negative hitting percentage - eight kills and ten attacking errors - to run away with a 25-16 victory to seal the match. It wasn't easy in the early going as Louisiana Tech led 8-6 when Bridget Benditz added a kill. Olivia Utt spurred a five-point turnaround with a block and a kill and just like that the Olive and Blue was ahead 11-8. The Lady Techsters pulled within one point twice more, but six kills from Martone led the Green Wave to victory.
"When you are an outside hitter like Cori (Martone) and Grace (Weaver) it means that you have to have a really good all-around game." Momic said. "They serve as primary passers and control the middle of the court in the back row and they usually get set a lot when you are on offense. When (Cori and Grace) play at a high level they are able to control the outside and that really gives us a good chance to win."
Tulane will play a pair of matches on Saturday, September 1 to close out their stay at the Lamar Invitational. The Green Wave will play Texas State at 10:00 a.m. and close out the event with a 6:00 matchup with host Lamar.