Oct. 28, 2012
EL PASO, Texas - Four Green Wave players posted double-digit kill totals and another three tallied 10-plus dig efforts, but it was not enough as the Tulane University volleyball team dropped a 3-2 Conference USA decision at UTEP on Sunday afternoon at Memorial Gym.
The Wave got off to a good start, winning the first two sets 26-24 and 25-19, and scored four of the first five points of the third set. The Miners, however, rallied back to win the third set 25-16, came from behind again in the fourth to claim a 25-22 decision and came away with a 15-11 victory in the final frame to complete the comeback.
With the loss, Tulane fell to 5-18 on the year and 3-9 in C-USA play. UTEP, meanwhile, avenged 3-1 a loss to the Green Wave back on Sept. 13 in the Hertz Center, improved to 13-11 overall and 7-5 in league action.
Senior right-side hitter Milica Jovic led the Green Wave offense with 18 kills, followed by junior Cori Martone with 13 and the tandem of senior right-side Izabela Grot and sophomore middle blocker Anna Wruck tallying 10 each. Sophomore libero Grace Weaver tallied a match-best 23 digs, junior setter Mel Mandelbaum was next with 12 while junior outside hitter Milena Draovic added 10.
Mandelbaum was the lone Tulane player to post a double-double with 32 assists to go with her dig total. Wruck, meanwhile, led the Green Wave's net defense with seven blocks (1 solo, 6 assists).
As a team, Tulane hit .253 (63 kills, 26 errors, 146 attacks) to UTEP's .258 clip (65-23-163). Had 61 assists to the Miners 56, and 61 digs to the home team's 46. UTEP, had five service aces to Tulane's three, had 14.0 blocks to the Green Wave's 12.5, and had just five attack errors over the final sets to hit a combined .481 in the four and fifth stanzas.
The two squads traded blows early in the opening set and were tied on 10 occasions. A Cassandra Burruel UTEP attack error to break a 24-all tie, and a block by Grot and Jovic on point later gave the Green Wave the opening set victory. The second frame was all Tulane as the Green Wave scored the first two points and never looked back. A Tulane service error made it aone-point affair at 2-1, but UTEP would not get within two points the rest of the way.
The Wave got off to a similar start in the third set, but after leading 4-1, Tulane saw the Miners rally. UTEP came back to tie the score at 10-10 and 12-all, and outscored the Green Wave 13-4 the rest of the way to extend the match. Tulane got off to another solid start in the fourth set and appeared to have control of the frame with a 17-13 lead 30 serves in. UTEP, however, rallied to tie the set at 18-all, and turned a 22-22 tie later on into a three point win as Burruel, Jeane Horton and Jacqueline Cason all tallied kills to account for the final score.
Tulane scored the first point of the fifth frame on a kill by Jovic, and that would be the Green Wave's lone lead of the frame. UTEP used a key 4-0 run to break a 3-3 tie only to see Tulane rally to thing things up at 11-all. That would be the Wave's final point, though as UTEP scored four straight to end the match and avoid the single-season sweep.
Horton led UTEP with a match-high 22 kills while Herrera was next with 17 followed by Bridget Logan with 10. Malia Patterson led all players with 52 assists, and shared team-high dig honors with Herrera at 10 each. Burruel had 10 blocks on the day (1 solo, 9 blocks).
The Green Wave return to action on Thursday, Nov. 1, when they play host to Tulsa at 7 p.m. in the Hertz Center. From there, Tulane will play its final home meet of the 2012 season on Nov. 4 against SMU before closing out the regular season with road matches at Marshall on Nov. 9 and at East Carolina on Nov. 11.
Tickets the contests against the Golden Hurricane and Mustangs, as well as future Green Wave events, are currently for sale through the Tulane Athletics Ticket Office. The Ticket Office is located on the first floor of the Wilson Center on Ben Weiner Drive, and tickets can be purchased in person, over the phone at 504-861-WAVE (9283) or via the Internet at www.TulaneGreenWave.com.