Oct. 15, 2006
NEW ORLEANS, La. - Sophomore outside hitter Sara Radosevic led four Green Wave players in double-digit kills with 23 and freshman libero Jenn Miller posted a match-best 26 digs as the Tulane University volleyball team defeated Rice, 3-1, Sunday afternoon at Fogelman Arena.
Tulane trailed by as many as eight at 24-16 during game one, and while the Owls won the opening stanza, 30-28, the near comeback provided a momentum swing that helped the Green Wave win the next three games. The Green Wave claimed 30-24 wins in games two and three, and after trailing 25-20 late in game three, Tulane outscored Rice 12-5 the rest of the way to improve to 10-7 overall and 6-2 in C-USA play. Rice, meanwhile, falls to 11-12 on the year and 4-5 in league action.
"Our offense was more balanced today and that was the difference," Tulane head coach Liz Kritza said. "We had contributions from everyone, and that is what it is going to take for us to be consistently successful. Bridget Wells is learning to come up with big points when we need them. Sara Thorson had a good day offensively for us, but the bottom line is our setters did a good job of spreading the ball around.
"There are still some areas of our game that we need to improve on, but that will come as this team continues to mature. With the success we have found so far, you sometimes forget that this team is almost entirely freshmen and sophomores. That's not an excuse, that's just a fact. There is a learning curve involved and there are going to be ups and downs. The important thing is to close the gap between them."
Miller led all defensive players in digs, and Radosevic posted her seventh double-double of the year with 11 digs. Sophomore Luna Rebrovic paced Tulane with 39 assists to go along with nine digs while rookie Rachel Lindelow followed with 30 assists and five ups.
"Jenn Miller passed nearly perfect in both matches and had 45 digs over the weekend, and that is a tremendous accomplishment for a freshman," Kritza said. "That is the kind of performance we need every time out, and if our defense can continue to be that solid, the sky is the limit for this young group."
Tulane fell behind early in game one, trailing 9-5 before going on a 6-2 run to tie the stanza at 11-all. After a pair of sideouts, Rice went on a 12-4 run to claim a commanding 24-16 advantage, but Tulane refused to go away quietly and cut the lead to one at 29-28.
Rice hung on to win the stanza, but the comeback momentum carried over into game two as Tulane scored the first three points of the period. It became a back-and-forth battle from there, but with the score knotted at 11-11, the Green Wave used a 15-9 rally to take control of the game and claim a 26-20 lead which proved to be the difference.
Game three followed a similar script, and with the score tied at 12-all, Tulane used a 10-6 rally to make it a 22-16 contest and the Green Wave cruised to a six-point victory.
Rice, however, shook off the two losses and scored the first six points of game four. Tulane continued to battle, but it appeared as if the match was heading to game five as the Owls held a 25-20 lead late in the contest. Rice held game-point at 29-26, but Tulane tied the score and staved off another game-point at 30-29 before a kill by Vlaskovic and two by Rebrovic provided the winning margin.
"Knowing we overcame a seven-point deficit and nearly won game one was a momentum builder," Kritza said. "We were able to capture that momentum and carry it over into game two, which is a big step after doing just the opposite on Friday. We were in a similar situation in game three. When you are down by five late in the game, you are forced to double your opponent's points. Today, we were able to do that and we learned an important lesson that will serve us well down the road."
Jennifer McClean led Rice with 22 kills while Karyn Morgan and Jessie Boulavsky followed with 13 and 11 respectively. Rachel Lopez led all players with 59 asssists, and Yvette Kirk was one of three Owls players to post double-digit dig totals with 23.
The Green Wave return to action on Friday, Oct. 20, when Tulane travels to Oklahoma to take on C-USA foe Tulsa at 7 p.m. Tulane will close out a two-match road swing on Sunday, Oct. 22, when it takes on league for SMU before returning to Fogelman Arena on Friday, Oct. 27, for a 7 p.m. showdown with UAB.
Single-match tickets for the 2006 season are currently for sale through the Tulane Athletics Ticket Office. The ticket office is located on the first floor of the James W. Wilson, Jr. Center and is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Tickets can be purchased in person, via the telephone at (504) 861-WAVE or via the internet at www.TulaneGreenWave.com.