Oct. 20, 2013
NEW ORLEANS - Tulane volleyball has continued to reach heights not seen in quite some time this year, and Sunday was no different. Against Conference USA newcomer FIU, the Green Wave secured their 20th victory of the season, defeating the Panthers in straight sets at Devlin Fieldhouse.
Tulane (20-2, 6-1) earned their 11th straight-set victory of the season, as well, as they sent FIU (9-12, 3-5) packing by scores of 25-19, 25-17 and 25-15. With the 20th win - and the 11th straight-set victory - of the year, Tulane has accomplished two feats not seen since the 2008 season, when the Green Wave advanced to the NCAA Tournament.
One season after finishing 6-21 overall and 4-12 in league play, Tulane's massive turnaround has surprised many. However, director of volleyball Sinisa Momic won't let the milestone get in the way of preparing his team for the next match.
"Twenty wins is impressive," said director of Tulane volleyball Sinisa Momic. "But, the good thing is that we are just playing better. We played a very focused and mature match today. We executed the game plan as best as we have this year. The score shows that. We adjusted well to hitting against their blockers, and we served very well. Everything we did today will help us again next weekend."
The Green Wave held FIU hitters to a meager -.031 attack percentage for the second lowest opponent percentage on the season, and the lowest by a C-USA opponent since the statistic started being kept by the Tulane Athletic Communications Department in 2001. It's only the second time since 2001 that a C-USA opponent has been held to a negative hitting percentage, as Saint Louis posted a hitting percentage of -.007 on Nov. 21, 2003 against the Green Wave.
On Sunday, the Green Wave were led by senior Cori Martone, who had an outstanding day offensively, posting the only double-digit kill tally of the match with 13, while hitting .480 (13 kills, one error, 25 attempts) in the process.
Mandelbaum, as always, had a spectacular passing match, as she managed a match-high 30 assists. Her 30 assists were higher than FIU's team total of 21.
Junior libero Grace Weaver posted 15 digs to lead the match, while Martone added eight digs of her own. Shurtz, Mandelbaum and Juric all had seven digs, each.
The Green Wave jumped ahead early, and held on throughout the entire first and second sets, with only one tie coming at 1-1 in the second game. Tulane blasted their way to a victory in the first set, hitting .353 as a team with Strasner and Martone posting five kills each to lead the way.
Tulane's hitting percentage regressed during the second and third sets, but FIU followed suit, hitting -.207 in the third set.
However, FIU gave Tulane some worries early on, as the Panthers led at 5-4 and 8-7. The Green Wave stormed back to take the lead each time. Tulane scored six straight points during one stretch to take a 17-9 lead, and they managed a five-straight point scoring stretch at the end of the final set, capped off by an attack error by the Panthers.
Tulane will return to Devlin Fieldhouse on Friday for a 7pm CT tilt against Florida Atlantic, another C-USA newcomer.
Single game tickets will be available for $6 for adults, $5 for seniors and $4 for children.
For single-game ticket information, contact the Tulane Athletics Ticket Office at (504) 861-WAVE (9283). Group discounts are available when ten or more tickets are purchased.
The Tulane Ticket Office is located on the first floor of the James W. Wilson, Jr. Center and is open weekdays from 8:30 am to 5 pm. For additional information, log onto the official website at www.TulaneGreenWave.com.
Fans can follow the Green Wave volleyball program on Twitter (GreenWaveVB) or on Facebook at facebook.com/GreenWaveVolleyball.