Oct. 14, 2008
NEW ORLEANS - Junior libero Jenn Miller had a match-high 11 digs to bring her career total to a school-record 1,369 as the Tulane University volleyball team defeated cross-town rival University of New Orleans, 3-0, Tuesday evening in "Dig For The Cure" Night at Fogelman Arena.
While the Green Wave were raising money to assist the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation to help fight breast cancer though pledges and monetary donations, Miller surpassed the former record of 1,366 set by Karlyn Daly from 2000-03 to help spearhead Tulane's 25-22, 25-20, 25-16 victory. The win was Tulane's third in a row overall, 19th straight at home and ninth consecutive over the Privateers as the Green Wave improve to 14-5 on the year. UNO, meanwhile, fell to 11-6.
"Jenn has had a fantastic career so far and all of her honors are so well deserved, but I think it is pretty special that she set the career digs record as a junior," Tulane head volleyball coach Liz Kritza said. "She has redefined the libero position here at Tulane and it is only fitting that she would hold the record. For her to do it as a junior with 10 conference matches left to play is a testament the level of play and her intense desire to improve every match that she plays."
While her coach was quick to praise Miller for her accomplishment, Miller herself was caught by surprise when the announcement was made following her first dig of the third set. She had actually walked off the court following the record-setting play as both of Tulane's middle blockers were on the court at the time, and Miller had to be prodded by her teammates to step out and acknowledge the crowd's reaction to her record was blasted over the public address system.
"I'm pretty floored that it happened tonight, and it is kind of ironic that it happened on `Dig For The Cure' Night," Miller said. "I had no idea that I was even that close, and I did not expect to be that close so soon."
Upon hearing Miller's shock that she set the career digs mark, Kritza quickly resplied, "The fact that she did not even know that she was close and was not even focusing on it is a testament to exactly why she is that superior in that category. She is the epitome of a team player. She understands the importance of her role but she is not the type of kid who is looking for this kind of recognition. She just puts her head down and keeps working, and good things have happened for her. She handles the defensive load for us in many matches, especially tonight when it matters so much more because it is for a good cause."
Miller's performance was just a part of a solid team effort by Tulane on Tuesday as the Wave hit .373 as a team on the strength of 40 kills and just nine errors in 83 swings. Senior outside hitter Sara Radosevic was the lone Tulane player to tally double-digit kill totals with 10, but was one of five regulars to hit .300 on the night after connecting at a .350 clip (10-3-20).
Senior middle blocker Bridget Wells was next for the Tulane with nine kills and a .375 attack percentage while junior right-side hitter Ksenija Vlaskovic and freshman outside hitter Visnja Djurdjevic followed with eight kills each. Junior Rachel Lindelow paced the club with 16 assists while senior Luna Rebrovic followed closely with 15. Djurdjevic and sophomore middle blocker Lindsay Shepard tied for the team lead with four blocks apiece.
The Green Wave jumped out to an early 12-8 lead in the first set, but UNO rallied to tie the match eight serves later at 14-all. From there, Tulane used a 6-1 rally to take a five-point lead in the ballgame and withstood a late Privateer come-back attempt to claim a three-point victory.
The second set was a slugfest most of the way as the teams battled point-for-point. Tulane, however, broke a 12-12 tie on a kill by Wells and never trailed again. The Green Wave advantage swelled to as many as four on seven occasions and the home team took a commanding 2-0 lead into the locker room at the break.
UNO scored the first point of the third stanza and led 2-1 two serves later, but that would be the high-water mark for the Privateers in the set. Tulane broke a 3-3 tie by capitalizing on a UNO miscue and that sparked a 7-3 rally to give the Wave a 10-6 lead. From there, Tulane used a 7-1 run to take control of the match at 17-7 and rolled to a nine-point victory.
The Privateers' Dobrilla Kovacevic lead all players with 12 kills while Lindsey Loyd was second on the squad with 10. Kaley Hubbard posted a match-best 21 assist on the night, and Nicky Valenti paced UNO with 15 digs.
The Green Wave return to action on Friday, Oct. 17, when they play host to Conference USA foe East Carolina at 7 p.m. in Fogelman Arena. Following that match, the team closes out its three-match homestand at 1 p.m. on Sunday against league rival, Marshall. For ticket information to those matches, as well as future Green Wave athletic events, contact the Tulane University Athletics Ticket Office at 504-861-WAVE.