Oct. 19, 2008
NEW ORLEANS - Senior outside hitter Sara Radosevic, junior right-side hitter Ksenija Vlaskovic and senior right-side hitter Bridget Wells all posted double-digit kill totals and the Green Wave posted a .398 attack percentage on the day as the Tulane University volleyball team defeated Conference USA foe Marshall, 3-0, Sunday afternoon in Fogelman Arena.
Tulane's attack percentage came courtesy of 44 kills and just seven errors in 93 swings, and the defense held C-USA's leading hitting Jalicia Ross - who entered the match with a .462 clip - to a .231 showing with just six kills and three errors in 13 opportunities. The 25-16, 25-20, 25-19 victory was Tulane's fifth in a row overall and 21st consecutive at home as the Green Wave improved to 16-5 on the year and 7-1 in C-USA play. Marshall, meanwhile, fell to 10-9 overall and 3-6 in league action.
"Today was an interesting match because there were swings of high-level, competitive points that we played and there were some that were just misfires and out-of-system balls that we really try and eliminate from our type of play," Tulane head volleyball coach Liz Kritza said. "I know Marshall's coach is not pleased with their performance, they had a couple of key injuries, their lineup was a little different today, and they were never able to get in system and firing. They are a much better team than their record shows and the score today is not indicative of the team that they have. We will see them again in the conference tournament, possibly."
Radosevic led all players with 12 kills while Vlaskovic and Wells followed with 11 and 10, respectively. Senior setter Luna Rebrovic had 21 of Tulane's 43 assists, junior libero Jenn Miller and junior setter Rachel Lindelow tied for team-high dig honors with eight each, and senior middle blocker Jen Linder paced the front-line defense with four block assists.
As a team, Tulane held Marshall to a .191 attack percentage (37-19-94) and a big part of that came via a solid serving effort as the Green Wave out-aced the Thundering Herd, 6-1. Lindelow led the team with a season-high three aces and Radosevic posted a pair of aces to move into second place in Tulane career history with 177.
"This team is doing a good job of following a gameplan and they are starting to understand how you can take your advantages rotation by rotation and coming up with extra points, and eventually a well-executed, well-designed win," Kritza said. "You have to be able to take a few extra serving errors to push a team out of system. I am pleased with our team learning things like that. At this point in the season, we are on a winning streak and the team is playing well, you worry about not just performing but continually improving. We are starting to improve on following a game plan properly."
Marshall scored the first point of the match and held a 4-2 advantage early in the first set, but Tulane tied the score at 4-all and never gave up the lead the rest of the way. With the set knotted at 5-5, the Green Wave used a 4-0 rally to create some separation and outscored the Herd 14-11 to close out the set and set the tone for the day.
The second set was a very different story as Marshall and Tulane traded blows for most of the contest. The Green Wave led 2-1 and 3-2 early on, but the Herd rallied to take a 5-4 lead and would not relinquish the advantage until late in the ballgame. Marshall led by as many as two on several occasions, but with Tulane trailing 14-12, the Wave used a 4-0 rally to take a two-point advantage. Marshall tied the score at 16-all, but Tulane used a 9-4 rally the rest the way to take a 2-0 advantage in the match.
The Green Wave stormed out of the gate in what proved to be the final set as Tulane jumped out to a 6-3 advantage. The lead swelled to as many as eight at 19-11, which allowed Kritza to insert a few reserves into the match, but Marshall refused to go away quietly. The Thundering herd but the lead to three at 22-19 courtesy of an 8-3 rally, but Tulane scored the final three points of the stanza to clinch the straight-sets victory.
"I think sometimes we dropped our level of play and made some uncharacteristic errors, which I am not pleased with," Kritza said. "But for us to hit .398 overall and sideout at the percentages that we did, our offense and our ability to stay in system and score points in a row helped us win this.
"One of the keys to this match was defense. We had an opportunity to actually put them away a little earlier if we had played a little better defense, and that is something that we are going to work on. We did get better today and picked up another conference win, and it has given us some good points to improve on going into the second half of the conference season."
Megan Carlson led Marshall with 11 kills while Elizabeth Flemming paced the Herd defense with 10 digs. Flemming posted the match's lone double-double with 31 assists to go with her dig total.
The Green Wave return to action on Friday, Oct. 24, when they travel to Texas to battle league foe Rice. That contest is the first of a three-match road swing as the Green Wave will play at Houston on Oct. 26, at UCF on Oct. 31 and at Southern Miss on Nov. 4 before returning to Fogelman Arena on Nov. 7 for a 7 p.m. showdown against SMU. For ticket information, contact the Tulane University Athletics Ticket Office at 504-861-WAVE.