Oct. 7, 2012
HOUSTON - Two contests into a pivotal four-match road trip, the Tulane University volleyball team is still looking for its first victory of the swing as the Green Wave dropped a 3-0 Conference decision to Rice (25-16, 25-14, 25-19) on Sunday afternoon at Tudor Fieldhouse.
As a team, Tulane hit just .109 with 32 kills and 20 errors on 110 swings while allowing the Owls to connect at a .317 clip with 43 kills and just 11 miscues in 101 attempts. With the loss, Tulane fell to 4-14 on the year and 2-5 in C-USA play. Rice, meanwhile, improved to 13-8 overall and 6-1 in league action.
"We knew that Rice played at a high level and we tried to mix it up," Tulane head volleyball coach Sinisa Momic said. "We started with a normal line-up, and we just couldn't connect offensively or defensively. After that, we decided to put Cori (Martone) back in the middle to see what happens because we're looking for a way to get the most out of this team. We stayed in that lineup in games two or three.
"We didn't respond well to their fast offense. They're just better overall, but we're not executing basics. Our attacking wasn't at a high enough level and neither was our defense. Whatever line-up we try, we just have to play basic, fundamental volleyball better to be able to compete."
Senior right-side hitter Milica Jovic led the Green Wave with seven kills while junior Cori Martone and sophomore middle blocker Anna Wruck followed with six and five respectively. Junior libero Azarri Badawi paced the squad with nine digs and a pair of service aces, and Martone tallied a team-best three blocks (2 solo, 1 assist). Junior setter Mel Mandelbaum led the way with 14 assists while senior Lilly Wolfe finished with 12.
Tulane scored the first point of the match, but that would be the lone lead of the frame for the Green Wave as the Owls scored seven straight to set the tone for the rest of the contest. Rice's first-set advantage would swell to as many as 10 at 22-12 and a Kill by Nancy Cole seven serves later capped the 25-16 win.
The two teams traded eight points of the second set and Rice used a 3-0 run to take a 7-4 lead it would not relinquish. Tulane kept it a three-point affair later at 10-7, but the Owls outscored the Green Wave 15-7 the rest of the way to take a two-sets-to-none lead.
Like in the previous frame, Tulane and Rice traded blows throughout the early portions of the third set and stood deadlocked at 7-all 14 serves in. Another 3-0 Owls run staked the home team to a 10-7 lead and Tulane never got the deficit below two the rest of the contest.
Jillian Humphrey led Rice with 11 kills to go with a match-high six blocks (3 solo, 3 assists). Cole was second on the squad with 10 digs while Meghan Murphy posted the lone double-double of the day with 30 assists and 10 digs. Noelle Whitlock led all players with a match-best 14 digs.
The Green Wave continue the road swing on next week when they play at SMU on Oct. 12 and at Tulsa on Oct. 14. Tulane's next home match is slated for Friday, Oct. 18, when the Wave play host to Rice at 7 p.m. in the Hertz Center.
Tickets to that matches and 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.