Oct. 1, 2013
NEW ORLEANS - Tulane's volleyball team earned their 15th victory of the season on Tuesday night against Lamar at Devlin Fieldhouse, and senior setter Mel Mandelbaum had a record-setting night of her own, as she surpassed 3,000 career assists in the match.
Mandelbaum posted 35 assists on the evening for the Green Wave (15-2), giving her a total of 3,008 during her career. The Clovis, Calif., native was highly responsible for Tulane getting past Lamar (4-13) in straight sets, 25-20, 25-20, 25-22.
"Mel is an exceptional setter," said Tulane director of volleyball Sinisa Momic. "She would probably have many more assists if we didn't have to play a 6-2 system during her first three years here. She is a leader on the court, and she makes our offense run well. It's not a surprise to me that she has accomplished this feat."
In Tulane's final non-conference match of the regular season, the Green Wave hit .298 as a team, and were led in kills by freshmen Annie Shurtz and Tea Juric, who each posted ten on the night. Senior Cori Martone was not far behind, as she tallied nine kills, and freshman Sarah Strasner (five), junior Anna Wruck (five) and Mandelbaum (one) posted the rest of the kills for the team.
Martone led the team in digs with nine, while Shurtz and Mandelbaum each chipped in eight, while junior libero Grace Weaver had a total of seven.
Juric and Shurtz each had one service ace each to lead the squad.
The Green Wave managed to hold Lamar to just a .122 hitting percentage, including a .000 percentage during the first set. With the score tied at seven in the first game, Tulane rattled off seven of the next nine points to take a commanding lead that they would not relinquish. Shurtz and Juric ended the action with back-to-back kills. Tulane hit .393 during the game, and were led by Martone's four kills.
Strasner and Shurtz both notched four kills during the second set, one in which Tulane led after the third point. Wruck and Martone each had a block assist, while Mandelbaum recorded a set-high four digs.
The third game saw the Cardinals make a few threatening runs despite the Green Wave taking an early 4-0 lead. Lamar tied things at 14, and even took a 14-16 lead. However, Tulane managed to stay in the action with kills from Wruck and Juric. With the score evened at 22, the Cardinals rattled off a ball handling error and two attack errors, giving the Green Wave the victory.
"This last non-conference match gave us a chance to play another match to adjust before league play begins," added Momic. "The good thing was that even during a couple of times when we were in trouble tonight, we saw who is going to step up for us and score moving forward."
On Friday, the Green Wave will head to the East Coast to play a match against Conference USA foe Marshall. Two days later, they will travel south for another league tilt at Charlotte. The following Friday, Tulane will travel east again to take on East Carolina before finally returning to Devlin Fieldhouse on Oct. 18 for a match against Southern Miss.
Fans can follow the Green Wave volleyball program on Twitter (GreenWaveVB) or on Facebook at facebook.com/GreenWaveVolleyball.