Sept. 17, 2010
NEW ORLEANS - Behind a career effort from Milica Jovic, the Tulane volleyball team grabbed a straight sets victory over Sam Houston State to open the Allstate Sugar Bowl Collegiate Classic at Fogelman Arena on Friday (Sept. 17) morning.
"Today we didn't stop (playing). Even if our offense wasn't scoring, we kept fighting," said Tulane head coach Sinisa Momic. "We served well today and Sam Houston State made some passing errors in game three and we were able to capitalize on that. Right now we have one or two players playing great and a few others not being themselves, so we are trying to balance things out. It was a good win at this point of the season against a scrappy team."
Tulane opened the match with their best showing offensively, hitting .324 for the frame, and never trailed against the Bearkats. The Green Wave opened up a five point lead early in the first set, at 9-4, on kills from Lindsey Shepard and Jovic, but Sam Houston State pulled within one near the midway point. With the score sitting at 13-12 in their favor, the Olive and Blue held their slim lead until a service ace knotted the set at 23-23. The two teams traded kills, before a Jovic spike and a ball handling error from Carli Kolbe gave the Green Wave the opening set victory.
The second set was controlled by Tulane after a few early ties. A 6-5 Green Wave lead quickly turned into an 18-9 advantage for the home team. In that spurt, Jovic claimed three kills and Mandelbaum chipped in a pair, but the Bearkats committed six attacking errors. The two teams played even the remainder of the set, before a Grot kill - her fourth of the set - ended the scoring at 25-16 in favor of Tulane.
A dismal hitting percentage was the culprit for the Green Wave's close third-set win, with the Greenies hitting .018 with 13 kills and 12 errors in 55 total attacks. A flurry of lead changes and ties highlighted the beginning and end of the match, while the middle was played in Tulane's favor, but the Green Wave never held more than a five point edge. With TU leading 12-8, Sam Houston State benefited from five Tulane attacking errors, had five kills and a service ace to knot the score at 18-18.
A Shepard kill gave Tulane the edge again, but the Bearkats kept the match close, eventually holding leads of 25-24 and 26-25. The final lead for SHSU was erased by a service error and Jovic recorded the last two kills of the set for Tulane, the final one coming as the deciding point of the set.
Jovic led the way with her career-high 17 kills on 37 attempts, while Grot ended with 14 kills and Shepard added six. Mandelbaum dished out 37 assists - a match-best - and tied her career-high with three kills. Mandelbaum and Cori Martone each had nine digs, which were second to the match-best 15 from Amaris Genemaras, just one off of her career-high. "(Milica) had a good week of practice and she really stayed positive in today's match," said Momic. "She was just playing and reacting today. She scored key points for us in every (set) and really fought through it against a scrappy team."
Tulane will host #16 Oregon on Friday evening starting at 7:00 at Fogelman Arena, before closing out the tournament on Saturday, Sept. 18 with an 8:00 match against FIU. Check out complete results and recaps of the tournament by clicking here.