Sophomore Mel Mandelbaum Posted a Double-Double of 22 Assists and Ten Digs at SMU on Sunday
Oct. 9, 2011
NEW ORLEANS - After posting their first Conference USA win of the season on Saturday in Dallas, the Tulane volleyball carried that momentum over into the first set of their match with SMU on Sunday, but the Green Wave couldn't hold that forward motion in a four-set loss to the Mustangs at Moody Coliseum. The Green Wave dropped their weekend finale to the Mustangs by scores of 29-27, 15-25, 15-25, 19-25.
"We repeated our effort from yesterday, but only in game one, and after that SMU really put pressure on us and we didn't have an answer for them," said Tulane head coach Sinisa Momic. "On the other side, we got back into panic mode and we just couldn't get into a flow. We just couldn't find our rhythm today. At this point, we are trying to spread the offense around, but today we didn't have a hitter that was hitting for a good percentage and their block really affected that."
The opening frame was hotly contested, featuring nine ties and six lead changes, and the Green Wave outlasted the Mustangs to claim a 29-27 victory. Tulane had four different players record kills in the early going and held a 6-4 advantage. SMU scored seven straight points to claim the largest lead of the set - five points - but Tulane closed that gap and knotted things up at 13 points. Tulane enjoyed their largest lead at four points, 21-17, however, the Mustangs scored four unanswered to pull even. A solo block by Anna Wruck gave Tulane their first opportunity at match point, 25-24, and, after trading side-out points with the Mustangs, they finally end the set on back-to-back kills from Izabela Grot and Azarri Badawi.
The second and third sets were close in the early going, but SMU controlled the later portions of both. A service ace by Mel Mandelbaum gave Tulane their only lead of the second set, 10-9, but the home team tallied 16 of the final 21 points to claim the 25-15 decision and knot the match at one set apiece. A Wruck kill gave the Green Wave a 4-3 lead early in the third set and Tulane trailed by just two points on another kill from the rookie at 9-7. Again, SMU outscored Tulane down the stretch, this time 16-8, to grab the lead in the match heading to the fourth set.
Tulane had their chances in the fourth set, but SMU would not let the Olive and Blue rally after taking the early lead. The Green Wave pulled the match within two points multiple times and got within three points at 22-19. A pair of kills and a block by the home squad finished the set and the match off.
Wruck paced a quartet of Tulane attackers that ended the match with nine kills and posted a team-best attacking percentage of .333 (9K-2E-21TA). Grace Weaver, Olivia Utt and Grot all collected nine kills, too, while Nikki Osuna led all players with 17 kills. Sophomore Mel Mandelbaum posted a double-double with 22 assists and ten digs, while Weaver also added nine kills.
As a team, Tulane managed to hit just .083 and allowed SMU to attack at a .261 clip. The Mustangs posted 16 blocks on the afternoon, compared to Tulane's four, and they had half the attacking errors of the Green Wave, 16-34.
The schedule brings the Green Wave back to the Crescent City for a pair of matches this weekend, with Marshall visiting Fogelman Arena on Friday, Oct. 14 and East Carolina coming to town on Sunday, Oct. 16. Tulane and the Thundering Herd will face off at 7:00 p.m. and they will entertain the Pirates at 1:00.
Single game tickets for the remainder of the 2011 home slate are on sale now and can be purchased by contacting the Tulane Ticket Office at 504-861-WAVE or visiting the Tulane Team Shop inside the James Wilson, Jr. Center between 8:30 am and 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday.