Oct. 16, 2009
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Senior setter Rachel Lindelow had a double-double with 39 assists and 11 digs, and the Green Wave offense connected at a season-high .336 clip, as the Tulane University volleyball team rolled past Conference USA foe Marshall Friday evening at the Cam Henderson Center.
Tulane lead throughout the opening stanza to win 25-21 and broke a 23-all tie late in the second set to go into the break up 2-0 with a 25-23 decision. The third frame was all Tulane as the two teams traded the first 10 points before the Green Wave out-scored the Herd 20-10 the rest of the way en route to a 25-15 victory.
With the win - Tulane's second straight over Marshall - the Green Wave improve to 11-6 on the year and 6-2 in C-USA action. The Thundering Herd, meanwhile, fall to 16-5 overall and 4-3 in league play.
"We put it all together, and for the first time all season, I thought we were actually controlling how we played," first-year Tulane head volleyball coach Sinisa Momic said. "The usual mistakes were controlled by our players. From the start, we were controlling their hitters and especially in game one, we executed at a very high percentage in our side-out offense. Rachel distributed sets well, and we were siding out very strong.
"Marshall made a big push in game two and we managed to close that game. Then in game three, they didn't have an option on what to do because we had it covered - tips, we controlled serve-receive, and we were pretty balanced offensively. It was a fairly important win for us. I'm very glad that some things are starting to click and that it happened today because we're going to need that for any future conference opponent."
The Green Wave entered the contest against the Thundering Herd hitting .217 as a unit and went out and raised that mark five points after posting 49 kills and just 13 errors in 107 swings against Marshall. Sophomore outside hitter Visnja Djurdjevic led all players with a match-high 15 kills while freshman middle blocker Marija Milosavljevic and senior outside hitter Ksenija Vlaskovic followed with 11 and nine, respectively. Milosavljevic posted a match-best .529 attack percentage with just two errors in 17 swings. Djurdjevic, meanwhile, connected at a .344 clip with four miscues in 32 tries.
Tulane was also able to side-out at a rate of 71.7 percent (43-60) thanks in large part to a solid defensive performance. Lindelow, senior libero Jenn Miller and senior defensive specialist Jaye Loyd tied for team-high dig honors with 11 each. Vlaskovic, meanwhile, added seven digs in the winning effort.
"It's like I've always said from the beginning - we have the potential to beat anybody we play," Momic said. "We just have to avoid our mistakes. When we do, it's obvious who has the better team. It was us controlling things and playing mature, smart volleyball. Marshall is in the top five or six teams in a conference where everybody is beating each other right now. We just have to be steady and understand that if we play steady, we can beat all of these teams."
The Green Wave scored the first two points of the match and never looked back in the opening stanza. The lead swelled to as many as seven on four occasions and held a 19-12 lead late. Marshall rallied to slice the deficit to four at 23-19 and fended off a trio of Tulane set-point opportunities before an attack error by Elizabeth Herman sealed the frame.
The two teams traded the first eight points of set No. 2, but with the score tied at 4-all, Tulane used a 5-0 run to create a bit of separation. The Green Wave advantage got to as many as five at 18-13 before the Herd rambled back into the mix. Marshall used a 7-2 run to tie the frame at 20-20 and the score was knotted three more times down the stretch. Vlaskovic, however, ended the back-and-forth struggle with consecutive kills to send the Green Wave into the locker room comfortably on top, 2-0.
The see-saw battle continued in the early portion of what proved to be the final set, but with the score tied at 5-5, Tulane rattled off seven unanswered points and pushed through to the finish. The Wave's seven-point lead held steady for most of the remainder of play, Lindelow made it set point with a kill and junior middle blocker Stephanie Stromath sealed the win with a kill of her own to complete the straight-sets sweep.
"We were taking good swings, but more importantly, we were consistent and smart," Momic said. "It wasn't just about hitting it hard. It was distributing the ball to everybody, not making mistakes, putting the ball away and mixing in all the shots. I think we were steady mentally offensively.
"We didn't score any aces, but we avoided making mistakes. That was enough because they were out of system a lot. If you look at the serving stats, there aren't any aces but you can't see how many passes that were out of system. That was something we were very good at today."
Emily Sullivan was the lone Marshall player to finish with a double-digit kill total at 12 as Kristin Marcum was next with seven. Elizabeth Fleming tallied 22 of the Herd's 33 assists on the night while Sullivan and Ryanne Milligan tied for team-high dig honors with 10 apiece.
The Green Wave return to action on Sunday, Oct. 18, when they travel to Greenville, N.C., for an 11 a.m. (CDT) showdown with East Carolina. From there, Tulane returns home for an Oct. 23 contest with UAB at 8 p.m. in Fogelman Arena. For ticket information, contact the Tulane Athletics Ticket Office at 504-861-WAVE.