Sept. 6, 2003
NEW ORLEANS, La. - Junior outside hitter Anastasia Kenon hammered out 11 kills and three Green Wave player tallied double-digit dig totals, but it was not enough as the Tulane University volleyball team dropped a 3-0 decision to No. 5 Nebraska in the NOKIA Sugar Bowl Classic finale Saturday evening at Fogelman Arena.
The Cornhuskers (6-0) entered the match hitting .284 as a team, but the Green Wave (5-1) were able to hold Nebraska to a .214 mark with 48 kills and 21 errors in 126 attempts. The Nebraska defense, however, proved to be the difference as the Cornhuskers tallied 13.0 team blocks held Tulane to a .156 attack percentage (40-21-122) to hand the Green Wave their first loss of the season.
"We needed a little more firepower, but I'm proud of the way we played defense and I think we all believe that we can beat a team of this caliber," head coach Betsy Becker said. "We had a few lulls in each game, and if we had played a complete game, we would have had a different outcome.
"I see bright things for this team. We're going to run up against this type of quality opponent later in the year with South Florida, Louisville and Cincinnati, and I believe you either learn from a match like this or you build from this experience. We can build on the LSU and UNO wins and we are going to build on the Nebraska match."
Kenon and junior middle blocker Deva Fowler were named to the all-tournament team, and senior Karlyn Daly was named the tournament's best libero. Nebraska middle blocker Melissa Elmer was named tourney MVP and was joined by fellow Cornhuskers Anna Schrad and Christina Houghtelling as well as Jennifer Cruz of UNO and Daniela Romero of LSU.
Junior outside hitter Lindsey Norman led all players with 15 digs, while Kenon added 11 and Daly had 10. Fowler posted a team-high seven blocks, including one solo stop.
Tulane grabbed an early 12-8 lead in game two, but from there, the Cornhuskers used a 12-7 run to take a 20-15 advantage which proved to be the difference in the contest. The Green Wave battled back to cut the lead to two at 20-18 and again at 21-19, but Nebraska was able to keep Tulane at arms reach and used a 9-4 run to end the game with a 30-23 victory.
Game three followed a similar script, as Tulane stormed out to a 14-11 lead. But with the Green Wave ahead 20-17, the Cornhuskers used a 6-0 run to take a 23-20 lead they would not relinquish en route to a 30-26 victory.
Schrad led Nebraska with 13 kills, and Michelle Lynch paced the Cornhuskers with 11 digs. At the net, Elmer posted a match-best eight block assists, and Schrad chipped in with seven total blocks (two solo).
The Green Wave returns to action Tuesday, Sept. 9 when Tulane plays host in-state rival Louisiana-Lafayette at 7 p.m. at Fogelman Arena. For ticket information to that and future Green Wave contests, contact the Tulane Athletics Ticket Office at (504) 861-WAVE.