Sept. 29, 2013
NEW ORLEANS - Sets one and two propelled Tulane volleyball past UTEP on Sunday at Devlin Fieldhouse after the Green Wave posted a .420 hitting percentage during the first two games, giving Tulane their first Conference USA victory of the season in four sets.
Tulane (14-2, 1-1) bested UTEP (7-6, 1-1) by scores of 25-20 in the first two sets before the Miners recorded a 25-16 victory in the third game. Tulane came back in the fourth set after having difficulty in the third to win the match, 25-22.
As a team, the Green Wave hit .312, thanks in part to hitting .368 and .484 in the first and second sets, respectively. Tulane regressed a bit in the third set, hitting only .156, but came back in the fourth game to take the match.
"I think we dominated the first two games," said Tulane director of volleyball Sinisa Momic. "Our goal was to outplay them at the net. We obviously had a height advantage, although they passed very well. They used their best player, Xitlali Herrera, very well. We followed our game strategy pretty well. Some players stepped up, and some didn't play as well. The positive is that after we were outmatched in game three, we came out focused to control the game. We got a victory against a good team today."
Junior libero Grace Weaver led Tulane in digs with 21, while also adding a service ace on the afternoon.
Senior setter Mel Mandelbaum was the Tulane pacesetter in assists with 50, while tying Martone for the team lead in service aces with two.
Tulane came out strong in the first set, thanks in part to Shurtz's six kills. Martone notched her two service aces during the game. Tulane managed to lead for the entire game. In the second set, Tulane hit even better than their previous set, with Juric notching seven of her 14 kills during the action. UTEP only hit .194 during the game, but led out of the gate. After Tulane tied it at eight, there was only two other ties during the set that was mostly dominated by the Green Wave.
After the break, however, Tulane had their poorest hitting percentage of the match, while only recording nine digs - compared to 17 in both sets one and two - and no blocks. UTEP, on the other hand, hit .400 as a team to earn their lone victory of the match.
However, Tulane was able to put the Miners away in the fourth set that saw Mandelbaum post back-to-back service aces, while Juric added one. Martone led the way in the fourth game with four kills, and the Green Wave had three total blocks at the net.
Sunday's result was much different from last year when the two teams squared off. In El Paso, Texas, on Oct. 28, the Miners won in five sets, despite a double-double from Mandelbaum.
Tulane will play their final non-Conference USA match of the regular season on Tuesday as they play host to Lamar at Devlin Fieldhouse. The match will begin at 7pm CT. Live stats will be made available on TulaneGreenWave.com, while live video will be available to paid members of the All-Access Pass.
Single game tickets will be available for $6 for adults, $5 for seniors and $4 for children.
Season tickets for Tulane volleyball are $55 for adults and $35 for youth, ages three to 14. For single-game ticket information, contact the Tulane Athletics Ticket Office at (504) 861-WAVE (9283). Group discounts are available when ten or more tickets are purchased.
The Tulane Ticket Office is located on the first floor of the James W. Wilson, Jr. Center and is open weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. For additional information, log onto the official website at www.TulaneGreenWave.com.
Fans can follow the Green Wave volleyball program on Twitter (GreenWaveVB) or on Facebook at facebook.com/GreenWaveVolleyball.