Nov. 15, 2013
NEW ORLEANS - Tulane's volleyball squad needed just a little over an hour on Friday night to down Conference USA opponent Louisiana Tech in straight-sets, giving the Green Wave their 25th win of the season, as well as their 14th consecutive straight-set victory of the 2013 campaign.
Tulane (25-3, 11-2) dispatched the Lady Techsters (7-21, 1-12) by scores of 25-14, 25-16 and 25-18 in front of the season's biggest crowd, donning their white Devon Walker 18 t-shirts in order to "White Out Devlin for Devon." The Green Wave played one of their most complete matches of the season, as they led from start to finish throughout the entire match.
"We just executed on our side of the net," said Tulane director of volleyball Sinisa Momic. "We knew that if we played at a certain level, we should have controlled the match. It was kind of up-and-down. We were able to play on a decent level, though."
Freshman middle blocker Sarah Strasner notched a career-high four solo blocks, tying the second-most in a single match in Tulane history. The Houston native also posted two block assists, giving her six total blocks on the evening.
As a team, the Green Wave hit .315, thanks in part to senior Cori Martone's outstanding night. The Baton Rouge native totaled 14 kills on 22 attempts, while committing only two errors on her way to a hitting percentage of .545, a new personal best for her. At the net, Martone totaled three block assists.
Freshman Annie Shurtz was also on the offensive on Friday night, notching 10 kills on 22 attacks with two errors, hitting .364. Shurtz also led the team with three service aces, while freshman Tea Juric, junior Olivia Utt, junior Grace Weaver and Martone all added one service ace each.
Senior setter Mel Mandelbaum also got in on the offensive action, posting a career-high five kills on six attempts. Mandelbaum also led the match with 30 assists, while notching eight digs, putting her just three shy of 1,000 career digs.
Weaver led the match with 16 digs, and is now just one shy of eclipsing the 1,000 career dig plateau, meaning two Green Wave volleyballers should join the elite club during the regular season finale on Sunday against Middle Tennessee.
Junior Anna Wruck came back after missing the road matches against Tulsa and Rice last weekend with an illness. Wruck started the third set, and she posted her lone kill of the evening during the action.
The Green Wave held the Lady Techsters to a meager hitting percentage of .146 on the evening, including a .033 percentage in the opening set. Louisiana Tech improved during the next two games, hitting .161 and .229, respectively, but the Green Wave also improved throughout the match.
Tulane began the night by hitting .207 behind five kills from Shurtz and four from Martone. Strasner recorded two of her solo blocks during the action. In the second set, the team hit .345 with another four kills from Martone and another two solo blocks from Strasner.
In the final set, the Green Wave outdid themselves, hitting .382, led by Martone's six kills. The team also posted a match-high 17 digs during the final set.
Tulane will host their final regular season match of the season on Sunday as they take on Middle Tennessee for a 1pm CST showdown. The match will mark the final home match in the careers of Martone, Mandelbaum, Amber Bennett, Milena Dragovic, Azarri Badawi and Elysa Jackson.
"We have a big senior class, and they've gone through a lot," added Momic. "We want to make sure we have a very good match for them and for the program, especially going into the (C-USA) Championships. We want to make sure we play good volleyball."
Live stats will be made available on TulaneGreenWave.com, and live streaming video will be available to paid members of the All-Access pass.
Fans can also participate in the "Let's SAAC Hunger!" food drive at the match by bringing canned goods to donate to the Tulane Student-Athlete Advisory Council's food drive. Any fan who donates at Tulane athletic events will receive a $5 voucher off any single Tulane men's or women's basketball game throughout the month of December.
Students are encouraged to get in on the action, as well, by donating canned goods. Any student who donates three canned items gets one bonus Wave Reward point.
Fans can follow the Green Wave volleyball program on Twitter (GreenWaveVB) or on Facebook at facebook.com/GreenWaveVolleyball.