Oct. 19, 2002
MILWAUKEE, Wisc. - Senior outside hitter Britney Hurst had 26 kills and sophomore middle blocker Deva Fowler added 19 as the Tulane University volleyball team defeated Conference USA rival Marquette 3-1 Saturday evening at the Marquette Gym.
The Green Wave hit .283 as a team in the victory as Tulane took victories in both C-USA road games for the first time since the 1999 team downed and Memphis and UAB on Oct. 1 and 3, respectively. With the win, the Green Wave has now won five consecutive matches to improve to 14-10 overall and 4-2 in C-USA play.
"As Rudyard Kipling said, 'the strength of the pack is in the wolf, and the strength of the wolf is in the pack,'" head coach Betsy Becker said. "We showed that this evening. Our strengths were the individual efforts by the team, and our individual strengths were the difference for the team coming away with a win rather than a loss.
"We made great adjustments tonight. Marquette used three different lineups, and we were able to execute our game-plan against each one. You're a happy coach when your numbers are high, hitting near .300, digging a lot of balls, and converting a lot of those opportunities."
Fowler led the team with a .424 attack percentage with just five errors in 33 swings, and Hurst was second with a .321 clip with nine errors in 53 attacks. One major reason for the Green Wave's ability to terminate the ball was the play of freshman setter Kelli Dickson. Dickson posted a match-best 53 assists while chipping in three kills and six digs.
"I really thought Kelli orchestrated our offense really well," Becker said. "She was in tuned with every attacker and gave them what they wanted in a situation to best help the team. Deva had a stellar performance too, and she really maximized her potential offensively and defensively.
Hurst pace the team with 19 digs, and junior libero Karlyn Daly was next with 14. At the net, Tulane tallied 12.0 team blocks, including a five-block effort by junior middle blocker Kim Swafford, and four-block performances from Hurst, Fowler, and junior right-side hitter Lauren Jones-McClain.
"Britney and Karlyn were like Hoover vacuums, absorbing every ball that came their way," Becker added. "That can really frustrate a team - when you hit a ball well and the other team just digs it up. That can be frustrating, and their frustration turned to errors tonight. Winning two conference games on the road is an undertaking, so we're happy to be flying home with two victories."
The Green Wave fell behind 7-4 early in game one, but came back to tie the score at 11-all. After dropping behind 15-14 later in the game, Tulane went on a 5-1 rally to take a 19-16 lead they would not relinquish en route to a 30-25 win.
Tulane fell behind again in game two, trailing 4-1 before coming back to cut the lead to one on six occasions. With the score 10-9 in favor of Marquette, the Golden Eagles went on a 9-4 rally to push the lead to seven at 20-14. From there, Becker inserted Lindsey Norman into the rotation, and Norman came up with three aces to spark a 12-5 rally as the Green Wave were able to chip away at the lead and things up at 25-all. Marquette scored three straight before the Green Wave again cut the lead to one at 28-27, but the Golden Eagles were able to hold on to take a 30-27 decision.
Game three was a back-and-forth battle that featured six ties in the first 18 points. But with the score tied at nine, the Green Wave went on a 5-1 run to take a 14-10 lead. Tulane would hold the lead for most of the remaining stanza. The Green Wave led by as many as six at 23-17, and held game-point with a three-point lead, but Marquette would not go away quietly. Down six, the Golden Eagles used a 12-6 rally to tie the score at 29. After a Tulane timeout, though, the Green Wave would end the rally and score the final two points of the contest for a 31-29 win.
From there, the Green Wave were able to use the momentum of their game-three win to roll out to a 14-4 lead. Tulane would lead by as many as 11 at 20-9, but once again, Marquette would not back down. The Golden Eagles fended off three match-point opportunities by the Green Wave to make it 29-24, but the early Tulane lead proved to be the difference as Olive and Blue squad held on for the 30-24 victory.
Theresa Coughlin led Marquette with 19 kills, followed by Shannon Devine with 16, Jesse Klein with 14 and Aga Niemcezewska with 10. Erin Freer paces the Golden Eagles defense with 17 digs.
The Green Wave return to action on Tuesday, Oct. 22, when they travel to Thibodaux, La., to take on the Lady Colonels of Nicholls State at 7 p.m. Following the Nicholls contest, Tulane returns home to Fogelman Arena for a weekend Conference USA stand against Cincinnati and Louisville on Friday and Saturday, respectively.