Sept. 10, 2009
NEW ORLEANS - Sophomore outside hitter Visnja Djurdjevic and senior setter Rachel Lindelow posted double-doubles, and senior libero Jenn Miller tallied a team-best 14 digs, as the Tulane University volleyball team opened the 2009 Allstate Sugar Bowl Classic with a 3-1 win over cross-town rival University of New Orleans Thursday evening at the UNO Human Performance Center.
The Green Wave rallied for a late deficit to take the opening set, 25-22, and appeared to take control of the match with a 25-18 decision in set two. The Privateers, however, rallied from behind to take set No. 3, 26-24, but Tulane used a late push to withstand a furious UNO rally to post a victory courtesy of a 25-22 win. With the win, Tulane snaps a two-match losing streak to improve to 2-2 on the year and post its 10th consecutive victory over UNO dating back to 2001. UNO, meanwhile, saw its school-record eight-match home winning streak snapped to fall to 4-3 in 2009.
"I thought tonight's match featured two good teams playing early in the season and were still trying to figure out exactly how to play together," first-year Tulane head volleyball coach Sinisa Momic said. "But we knew that they were good and they're only going to get better. It is a valuable win for us.
"In the beginning, especially in the first two sets, we were winning because of our serving. We found their weakest passers and went after them. Then they came back, started playing great and beat us in the third set. Luckily, we came up with some big plays in the fourth set which saved us. I think UNO has a really good team and this is a valuable win right now."
Tulane scored the first five points of the match and held a 19-15 advantage later in the set. UNO rallied with a 5-0 run to take a 20-19 advantage and appeared to have control of the stanza with a 22-20 lead three serves later. From there, however, it was all Green Wave as Tulane took advantage of a hitting error, two kills and a pair of blocks to take the opening set by three.
It was a case of role reversal early in set No. 2 as UNO rolled out to a 4-0 lead. Tulane, however, used a 12-4 rally to claim a 12-8 advantage and never looked back. The Green Wave advantage swelled to as many as seven on four occasions and got to as many as nine at 24-15. The Privateers rattled off three straight points to cause Tulane to call a timeout, but Djurdjevic provided the winning point with a thunderous cross-court kill to give the Green Wave a 2-0 advantage in the set.
Neither team could take control of the third set as Tulane and UNO traded the first 20 points. With the score knotted at 10-all, the Green Wave used a 4-0 run to create a little breathing room and held a 20-16 lead later in the contest. The advantage, however, did not last as the Privateers rallied to tie the score at 20-all. The tug-of-war battle continued up until the very end and the Privateers put together key points down the stretch to set up the fourth and final set of the night.
In fourth set, however, Tulane scored the first point of the frame and never trailed. After a brief 1-1 tie, the Green Wave pushed for points and led by as many as five at 13-8. UNO rallied back to cut the lead to two at 21-19, but the Tulane made it match point at 24-21. The Privateers cut the deficit to two on a kill by Kaley Hubbard, but were called for a rotation error prior to the next serve to account for the final score.
"We got sloppy and that's the only thing we kept saying in the huddle - stay on top of them," Momic said. Then, we got sloppy with service errors and we didn't really capitalize on their bad sets. We're not moving our blockers right. If we do that, it would have been much easier in the fourth set. But a win is a win and we're happy to have it."
Maria Szivos led UNO with 15 kills and was joined on the double-digit kill club by Lindsey Loyd, who tallied 12. Loyd posted a double-double of her own with 10 digs, Nicky Valenti paced the club with 14 ups.
The Green Wave continue play in the Allstate Sugar Bowl Classic on Friday, Sept. 11, when they take on LSU at 7 p.m. and close out tourney play on Saturday against Long Beach State at 8 p.m. Friday's match against LSU will be a special day for the Tulane program as the team will raise a pair of banners celebrating the 2008 Conference USA Championship and its first-ever trip to the NCAA Tournament.
"Today is definitely a positive, beating a good team on the first day of the tournament," Momic said. "Now we are facing two really tough opponents. Hopefully, we can fix some things that we need to work on and play better and better. This was definitely an improvement from last weekend."
Tickets to the Friday and Saturday's Allstate Sugar Bowl matches are currently on sale through the Tulane Athletics Ticket Office at a session price of $6 for adults and $4 for youths. A tournament pass may also be purchased for $15, which will give fans access to all five matches at Fogelman Arena.
There will be three tickets valid for the weekend: one for Friday's contests between UNO and Long Beach State at 4 p.m. and the Tulane/LSU match at 7 p.m., one for Saturday morning's match between Long Beach State and LSU at 11 a.m., and one for Saturday evening's matches between UNO and LSU at 4 p.m. and the Tulane/Long Beach State finale at 8 p.m.
Gates open one hour prior to each match and all Tulane football season-ticket holders will have an opportunity purchase tickets at 50 percent discount. Tickets can be purchased in person at the Tulane Ticket Office on the first floor of the James W. Wilson Center from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., over the phone at 504-861-WAVE or via the internet at www.TulaneGreenWave.com. Tickets can also be purchased at Fogelman Arena on the day of the match.
Fans are invited to park throughout the weekend and the 2009 season free of charge in the Loyola Parking Garage, which is located on Freret Street just across from Fogelman Arena.