Sept. 20, 2013
RADFORD, Va.- Tulane's volleyball team dropped their first set and had to play behind from the next two against Radford on Friday night, but resiliency was the name of the game for the Green Wave as they posted their 11th victory of the season after storming back at the Radford University Highlander Classic in Radford, Va.
The Green Wave were behind early on in sets two and three, but managed to finish strong in each game, winning 25-17 and 25-20 after losing the first game, 22-25. Tulane capped things off in the fourth set with a 25-16 victory.
Games one and four couldn't have been more different, as Friday evening's first set went the way of Radford, thanks in part to Tulane hitting only .173. Despite three ties during the game by the Green Wave, Tulane could not bounce back after getting behind early.
"There was a big difference between games one and four," stated Tulane director of volleyball Sinisa Momic. "A big difference. We just did not execute well in game one. We had too many hitting errors. The execution just wasn't there."
Leading 2-1 after three sets, Tulane destroyed the Highlanders in the fourth set, hitting .531 as a team and holding Radford to a hitting percentage of .167 on their way to the 25-16 victory. Junior Anna Wruck played huge in the fourth set, as she notched seven kills on seven attempts, while also recording two block assists.
For the match, Tulane notched a season-high 11 blocks, and finished with a hitting percentage of .312 Wruck lead the way with six block assists while pacing the team in hitting percentage with a mark of .526 (13 kills, three errors, 19 total attempts). Freshman Sarah Strasner added five block assists, while senior Cori Martone (four), freshman Tea Juric (four) and senior Mel Mandelbaum (three) came up big at the net.
Juric posted her team-leading sixth double-double of the season with 16 kills and 13 digs. Fellow freshman Annie Shurtz tied with Juric for the team lead in kills, while also adding nine digs. Wruck finished with 13 kills, while Martone notched 11.
Mandelbaum posted 55 assists and 16 digs for a double-double, while junior libero Grace Weaver led the team with 19 digs.
"Tea had a big match for us," added Momic. "Mel, especially in game four, created some openings for our hitters. Annie and Anna both hit well. Everybody - at certain points - stood out."
Things turned around in the second set, as Tulane mounted a colossal comeback towards the end of the action to tie things up before the break. Radford once again held the lead initially, but kills by Wruck and Mandelbaum in the middle of the action - as well as an error on Radford's side of the net - allowed the Green Wave to tie things at 15. A service ace from Weaver on the next play gave Tulane the lead, and they managed to outscore the Highlanders 9-2 during the tail end of the game.
"We came up with some big plays (in the second set) and slowly started catching up," mentioned Momic. "We managed to pick our play up. We just became more stable towards the end."
In the third set, Tulane fell behind early by a score of 7-1 before tying things at 11 off a slew of attack errors by the Highlanders and kills from Martone, Wruck and Juric. The Green Wave took the lead once and for all at 19-18 on a service error by Radford. Juric added three kills towards the end of the set, while a service ace from Weaver, a kill from Shurtz and an attack error from Radford gave the Green Wave the set.
Tulane will return to action Saturday morning, as they will play Savannah State in a match at 9:30am CT. Later in the day, the Green Wave will square off once again with Radford during a 5:30pm CT match.
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