Sept. 5, 2008
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. - Mustang outside hitter Gaby Rivera had 14 kills, nine digs and two solo blocks among her three stuffs as the Tulane University volleyball team fell to host and 14th-ranked Cal Poly, 3-0 (25-10, 25-16, 25-13) in the opening match of the Paso Robles Marriott Invitational Friday morning at Mott Gym.
Senior outside hitter Sara Radosevic led the Wave with nine kills but the rest of the team accounted for just 10 kills as the Cal Poly defense held Tulane to a minus-.020 attack percentage (19 kills, 21 errors, 88 attempts). The Mustangs posted 12 blocks as a team and out-dug the Wave, 44-30. Conversely, Cal Poly posted a .356 attack percentage (42 kills, 11 errors, 87 attempts), including .750 clip by Jaclyn Houston (6-0-8) and a .444 mark by Kyle Atherstone (10-2-18).
"Obviously, this was not our best performance which is not a good combination when you are playing a Top 10-caliber team," Tulane head volleyball coach Liz Kritza said. "This is a team that has not played against this caliber of volleyball consistently, so it is unfamiliar territory for them. But this is exactly why we came out here. The scores do not show it.
"No one likes to get beat like that, especially me, but the reason that we came out here was to get better. Unfortunately, it will take getting licked like this for us to get better. We can go out and play at a certain level, but this team needs to be challenged. We have so many players who have played together that things can get complacent and things can get stale. They certainly were not stale today."
Tulane got off to a rough start in the first set as the Mustangs galloped out to a 6-1 lead and never looked back. Set two followed a similar script early on as Cal Poly jumped out to a 12-4 advantage, but Tulane used a 6-2 run to make it a four-point game at 14-10 to force the Mustangs to call a timeout. Following the break in the action, however, Cal Poly scored seven of the next nine points and cruised to take a 2-0 overall lead in the match.
The Green Wave took their only lead of the day on a Cal Poly attack error to start the third set, but the Mustangs used a 6-0 rally to take a five-point lead. Tulane held its own for a while, cutting the lead to two at 10-8, but that would be as close as the team would get as Cal Poly outscored the Green Wave, 15-6, the rest of the way to clinch the victory.
"If we were playing shorter periods against a team like Cal Poly, we could hang with them," Kritza said. "But that is why we are here. We cannot play a full game or match at that level. This team is legitimate. Cal Poly is an extremely talented team. They are very athletic, they are very fast, they run their system true to form, and they run a much faster offense than ours. To see that that type of offense - and obviously I would have like for us to have played better - but I can see that there is a value in us playing this type of team."
Junior libero Jenn Miller led the Green Wave with 13 digs, while senior middle blocker Jen Linder posted a team-best three block assists to go along with a pair of kills in five swings. Senior right-side hitter Bridget Wells finished second on the club with four kills.
The Wave close out day one of the Paso Robles Marriott Invitational later today when Tulane battles Northeastern at 7 p.m. From there, Tulane will take on No. 2 Nebraska on Saturday at 8:30 p.m. before flying back to New Orleans on Sunday.
"There is no option but to pick your head up and bounce back," Kritza said. "There is not any other option. We see no other way. We are here to improve. When you win you get better, and when you lose, you get better. That is what we are here to do. We have to learn from this extremely tough loss, put the pieces together, come back to play a quality opponent tonight and an even tougher opponent tomorrow."
Following the Paso Robles Marriott Invitational, the Green Wave return to action on Friday, Sept. 12, when they take on Jacksonville State in day one of the Allstate Sugar Bowl Classic in Fogelman Arena. Tulane will also play host to North Dakota State at 11 a.m. before closing out the tourney against Maryland later in the day at 8 p.m. For season tickets information or tickets to any future Green Wave home athletic event, contact the Ticket Office at (504) 861-WAVE.