Oct. 30, 2011
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - It came down to execution for the Tulane volleyball team on Sunday (October 30), but a fifth set that was plagued with errors did in the Green Wave in their five-set loss at Marshall. Tulane held a 2-1 lead before Marshall rallied to win the fourth and fifth sets, handing the Olive ad Blue a five set defeat by scores of 25-16, 19-25, 25-21, 20-25, 12-15 at the Henderson Center.
"We started off well today," said Tulane head coach Sinisa Momic. "It was really good to see that everything we talked about heading into the match was working. We knew that Marshall would fight back and they did. It was back and forth all the way through game five, but we got a little timid and made some mistakes late. We had some missed serves and weren't very aggressive in game five and that was the difference. We fought throughout the match and we saw many positive things, but we still need to score late when we have a chance to score. If we are able to push through late in matches we will score those points and that is the difference right now between winning and losing."
The Green Wave opened the match with one of their most efficient attacking sets of the season, hitting .500, on their way to a 25-16 set triumph. With the score sitting at 4-4 in the opening frame, TU used a 7-1 to open up a sizeable lead and eventually led by 11 points, 20-9, before trading points with the Thundering Herd down the stretch. Sophomore Mel Mandelbaum keyed the final two points, collecting a kill and then combined with Olivia Utt on a block to secure the opening set win.
In the third set, Tulane was able to hold on for the close victory, never trailing against the Herd after an Olivia Utt kill made it 6-5 in favor of TU. That lead grew to five points, at 11-6, but Marshall would chip away and eventually knot things up at 17 points apiece. The Green Wave would score eight of the final 13 points in the set, including a pair of kills from Cori Martone, to take back the momentum on the road with a 25-21 set win.
A 2-1 lead was the last advantage that Tulane would take in the fourth set, with Marshall scoring five unanswered points for a 6-2 lead. From there, Tulane would trim the lead to two points, 12-10, but Marshall was able to hold their lead the rest of the way and tie things up at two sets each.
It looked as if the Green Wave would walk away from the weekend with a perfect record, but Marshall showed what a home court advantage can do for a team. With Tulane leading 9-6 in the race to 15 points, Marshall's defense stepped up and forced an attacking error and collected two blocks to quickly tie things at nine points. Izabela Grot put Tulane back in the lead with a kill on the next rally, but Marshall tallied six of the final seven points, including three Green Wave errors, to complete the comeback.
Overall, Tulane dominated the stat sheet, leading Marshall in hitting percentage (.252-.159), kills (62-53), digs (67-61), blocks (13-8) and committing fewer attacking errors (23-28) than the Thundering Herd. Marshall, however, posted seven service aces and Tulane committed 13 service errors, which enabled the Herd to walk away victorious.
Martone led all players with 29 kills, hitting .288 (29K-10E-66TA), and posted 21 digs to lead Tulane. Grot added 13 kills for the Olive and Blue, while Utt (7) and Milica Jovic (6) were the next two kill leaders. Nikki Osuna posted 13 digs in the match to push her season total to 406, marking just the 11th time in Tulane history that a player has eclipsed the 400-dig mark in a season. The senior now sits tenth on the single season digs charts.
The Green Wave will return home for a pair of matches next weekend against Conference USA leading Tulsa. Tulane will entertain the Golden Hurricane on Saturday, November 5 at 1:00 and take to the court again on Sunday, November 6 for another 1:00 first serve.
Single game tickets for the remainder of the 2011 home slate are on sale now and can be purchased by contacting the Tulane Ticket Office at 504-861-WAVE or visiting the Tulane Team Shop inside the James Wilson, Jr. Center between 8:30 am and 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday.