Nov. 11, 2011
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - As the saying goes "defense wins championships" and on Friday evening defense dealt the Tulane volleyball team their third straight defeat. The Green Wave dropped a four set decision at Memphis, falling by scores of 24-26, 25-19, 19-25, 21-25, inside the Elma Roane Fieldhouse and it came down to the Tiger's ability to keep the ball in play.
"They played defense really well tonight," said Tulane head coach Sinisa Momic. "We played well in the first two sets, but they kept digging balls and they were very efficient on offense. We just couldn't maintain our defense throughout the match and that is what decided this match."
The two teams traded rallies in the opening frame to the tune of 16 ties and five lead changes. Memphis grabbed the final change on a kill from Lauren Hawkins to make it 15-14 in favor of the home team, but the Green Wave would draw even with the Tigers six times from that point, including a 24-24 tie when Elysa Jackson collected a service ace. A Memphis kill and an attacking error by the Green Wave closed out the set, 26-24, in the Tigers favor.
An early 7-3 lead by Memphis was quickly erased by the Olive and Blue thanks to a total team effort that included a kills from Cori Martone and Izabela Grot, a service ace by Olivia Utt and a block by Milica Jovic and Anna Wruck. The two teams traded points from there until Tulane grabbed their first lead when Martone and Wruck combined for another block, making it 10-9. The Tigers would rally to grab a 15-13 advantage, but the Green Wave closed the match on a 12-4 run to knot the match at one set apiece with the 25-19 victory.
The Tigers led throughout the early parts of the fourth stanza, but Tulane scored five straight points - including two kills from Wruck - to nab the lead at 9-8. That lead was short-lived, as Memphis reclaimed the advantage at 12-11 and eventually built a four-point lead at 18-14. A Lilly Wolfe kill capped a 4-0 run for Tulane and tied the match at 18 points, but Memphis scored seven of the final ten points and closed out the match.
"We needed a more balanced offense, as well," said Momic, "but we just couldn't find it. Anna had a good match in the middle and Cori did a nice job, even though she faced a double block for most of the night."
Overall, Tulane came up short in nearly every statistical category, leading only in service aces (6-3). The Green Wave hit .194 for the match, compared to .338 for Memphis, while the Tigers held a 62-44 edge in digs and a 64-49 advantage in kills.
Martone paced Tulane's attack with 19 kills, adding seven digs, with Wruck boasting a .571 attacking percentage. Wruck had 13 successful attacks and committed just one error in 21 total attacks. Wolfe handed out 44 assists and senior Nikki Osuna led the squad with 11 digs.
Altrese Hawkins led all players with 24 kills and Aleksandra Petronijevic have a match-best 25 digs.
Tulane travels to UAB on Sunday to close out their final weekend road trip of the season, starting at 1:00 versus the Blazers. The Green Wave will then host Houston and Rice on November 18 and 20, respectively, before closing out the season with a bus ride to Southern Miss on November 22.
Single game tickets for the final home weekend of the 2011 season 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.