Sept. 4, 2010
PITTSBURGH - When playing the host school at an early season tournament, all you can ask for is to have a chance at the end of each set. On Saturday in the finale of the University of Pittsburgh Invitational, the Tulane volleyball team were tied with the host Panthers late in each set, but were unable to close them out, falling by scores of 23-25, 24-26 and 21-25.
"We played well and found our rhythm, but we just couldn't hold a lead," said Tulane head coach Sinisa Momic. "We are improving, but we are just not steady. That is what happens with a young team. Usually the first step is that (a young team) doesn't play well together and the second step is they learn how to play well, but they can't carry it for a whole match. We have another week of practice and hopefully we can put it all together this week and win some matches next weekend."
An early 4-1 advantage turned into an 8-8 tie before a Lindsey Shepard kill gave Tulane a 9-8 advantage. The Olive and Blue held that lead until the Panthers knotted things at 20. After trading points to a 22-all deadlock, Pitt scored the next two points and eventually closed out the set on a kill from Imani Harper. Milica Jovic and Cori Martone both collected four kills and Amaris Genemaras tallied six digs to open the match.
Pitt took the early lead in the second set and held a lead of 17-13 mid way through. The Green Wave took the lead at 18-17 behind three kills from Grot to cap a 5-0 run. The host university tied things up on the next rally and the two teams were tied five more times down the stretch until kills from Harper and Alexa Campbell closed things out for Pitt. Grot had seven kills and Tulane hit .348 in the second set, but Pitt boasted a .375 hitting percentage.
The difference in the match seemed to come at the net, where Pitt posted 12 blocks to just five for Tulane. The Olive and Blue hit .169, Pitt hit .206 and each team had four service errors. Grot led all players with 13 kills and Jovic chipped in 11 in the match. Martone missed a double-double by just one kill and ended the match with nine kills and 11 digs. Mandelbaum tallied the teams only service ace, handed out 40 assists and collected a kill in the tournament finale.
The Green Wave fall to 0-6 on the season and will have another week of practice before heading to College Park, Maryland to compete in the Terrapin Invitational. Their first match will be on Friday, September 10 versus Fairfield starting at 4:00 Central time.
Pitt Invitational All-Tournament Team
Jaclyn Hart - Purdue (MVP)
Carly Cramer - Purdue
Kaycee Green -Lipscomb
Alex Kelly - Lipscomb
Imani Harper - Pitt
Milica Jovic -Tulane