Sept. 28, 2012
NEW ORLEANS - Heading into Friday's Conference USA showdown with Memphis, Tulane University head volleyball coach Sinisa Momic was quick to point out that his team had to learn a way to close out sets and pick up victories.
While the Green Wave fought a good fight, it was more of the same for the team as Tulane dropped a 3-1 decision to the Tigers in the Hertz Center. The home team fell by just a pair of points in the first two frames , 25-23 and 26-4. After winning the third set, 25-19, the Wave held a 21-19 advantage late only to see Memphis score six of the contest's final seven points to come away with a 25-22 victory.
The loss was the fourth in a row for Tulane as the Green Wave fall to 3-12 on the year and 1-3 in C-USA action. Memphis, meanwhile, snapped a three-match skid to improve to 6-11 overall and 1-2 in league play.
After extending the match with an impressive six-point win in the third set, it looked like the Green Wave were done early in what proved to be the final frame. The Tigers scored the first three points and roared out to a 14-9 advantage. A Memphis attack error sparked a 7-0 Tulane rally to give the Green Wave a 16-14 edge. The two-point lead held until the 21-19 mark, but Memphis got consecutive kills by Jaden Louie and Altrese Hawkins, took advantage of a Tulane attack error, and got two more Hawkins kills to cap a 5-0 run and all but put the match a way.
Sophomore outside hitter Grace Weaver led three Tulane players with double-figure kill totals with 12 while senior right-side hitter Milica Jovic and junior outside hitter Cori Martone finished with 11 each. Martone posted the team's lone double-double with a team-best 11 digs. Junior setter Mel Mandelbaum paced the squad with 20 assists, and middle blockers Anna Wruck and Olivia Utt each had four block assists.
As a team, Tulane hit .140 on the night with 41 kills and 23 errors in 129 swings. Memphis, meanwhile, connected at a .246 clip (60-25-142). Memphis had 57 assists to Tulane's 39 and 53 digs to the Wave's 48. Both teams finished with six service aces and 8.0 blocks.
Tulane got off to a good start in the opening set as a Martone kill eight serves into the contest staked the Wave to a 6-2 lead. Memphis answered with an 8-2 rally and the two teams wound up tied at 16-all midway through the set. A Tulane service error, however, broke the tie to give Memphis a one-point lead it would not relinquish. The Tigers held a 23-19 advantage late, and Tulane rallied to cut the deficit to one at 24-23. Memphis' Marija Jovanovic thwarted any talks of a comeback with a kill to put the set away.
Neither team could take control of the second set as the squads battled to 18 ties and neither club held an advantage of more than two points. With the score knotted at 24-24, Memphis got back-to-back kills by Maja Kostic and Hawkins to go on top two sets to none.
Following a 10-minute intermission, Tulane appeared to turn the tide as the Green Wave scored the opening point of the third set and never trailed at any point during the frame. Tulane's lead swelled to as many as seven at 16-9, but Memphis made things interesting with a 4-0 run the cut the deficit to three. That would be as close as the Tigers would get, though, as Tulane capped the stanza with a 4-0 run of its own before falling in the fourth.
Hawkins led Memphis with a match-high 20 kills and Janovic was next for the Tigers with 13. Defensively Aleksandra Petronijevic paced Memphis with 13 digs and Lauren Hawkins led the way at the net with six block assists. Jaden Louie, meanwhile, had 50 assists to go with eight digs, four kills and a trio of block assists.
Tulane returns to action on Sunday, Sept. 30, when the Green Wave play host to league foe UAB at 1 p.m. in the Hertz Center. Tickets to that match, as well as future Green Wave events, are currently for sale through the Tulane Athletics Ticket Office. The Ticket Office is located on the first floor of the Wilson Center on Ben Weiner Drive, and tickets can be purchased in person, over the phone at 504-861-WAVE (9283) or via the Internet at www.TulaneGreenWave.com. Tickets can also be purchased on game day at the Hertz Center ticket table.