Dec. 4, 2009
BATON ROUGE, La. - Tulane's bid to advance to the second round of the NCAA Volleyball Tournament for the second-straight year was blocked by No. 15 LSU Friday night in Baton Rouge. The Tigers' front line posted 12 blocks as LSU swept Tulane, 3-0 (25-15, 25-12, 25-15) in the First Round at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center. Sophomore outside hitter Visnja Djurdjevic led the Green Wave with nine kills, but Tulane caps its season at 18-10 overall.
"They just out-played us at every level tonight," head coach Sinisa Momic said. "We were struggling. I thought LSU played great...with passing together with their offense through the middle, especially. They were hard to stop."
The Tigers hit .351 for the match, as Lauren DeGirolamo posted eight kills on 13 attempts without an error and Angela Bensend chipped in nine kills as LSU won its second of the three meetings between the two schools, with the home team winning each contest.
The Green Wave offense never found its rhythm, stringing together more than two consecutive points only once, a four-point stretch in set two. The LSU disrupted Tulane's attack all night, as the Tigers held Tulane to a .038 hitting percentage with 24 kills on 106 attempts, and sided out at 81 percent in sets one and three.
Tulane senior outside hitter Ksenija Vlaskovic picked up her 700th career dig to go with five kills. She finishes her Tulane career with 1,516 kills, third all-time in school history and is one of just 10 players with 1000 or more kills and 700 or more digs. Senior libero Jenn Miller led Tulane with 15 digs, finishing her career as Tulane's all-time digs leader with 1987. Senior setter Rachel Lindelow rounded out her Tulane career with 21 assists, for a total of 3236, fourth in Tulane history. Junior middle blocker Lindsey Shepard posted five assisted blocks and four kills, while freshman opposite hitter Milica Jovic recorded four assisted blocks and four kills.
Back-to-back kills from Vlaskovic and Djurdjevic gave Tulane its first lead of the match at 6-5 in the first set. But from a 7-6 Tulane lead, LSU reeled off a 16-5 run to seize control. A kill from Cooper and a Tulane error set up set point, but a kill from Lindsey Shepard and block from Milica Jovic briefly fended off the inevitable. Cooper and Angela Bensend teamed for a block for the final point as LSU took set one, 25-15. LSU hit .364 for the set and held Tulane to a percentage of .000 by posting five blocks.
In set two, the Tigers rolled out to an early 3-0 lead before Djurdjevic answered with a kill off the fingertips. LSU then posted a pair of service aces to stretch the margin to 7-3 before Lindelow dropped a tip over the front line to cut the margin to 8-4. LSU rattled off a 7-1 run to hold serve at 15-5. Djurdjevic dropped home a kill and added a service ace as Tulane reeled off four straight points, but the Tigers slammed the door on a kill from Cooper for a 25-12 win. The 12 points by the Green Wave were its lowest in a set this season.
Cooper opened set three with a kill, but Shepard answered with two kills sandwiched around a block for a 3-2 Tulane advantage. The Green Wave fed its middles to open the set, as Shepard and Marija Milosavljevic helped Tulane to an 8-6 lead. But a kill and a block from DeGirolamo kicked off a 10-1 Tiger run, as LSU surged ahead 16-9. Vlaskovic chipped in a kill to cut the margin to six at 17-11, but the Green Wave would get no closer, as LSU established set point, and after Tulane staved off elimination twice, Cooper ended the match off a feed from setter Sam Dabbs.
Dabbs finished with 36 assists on the night for LSU, as five of her teammates recorded six or more kills. Dabbs herself posted five on six flip attempts.
LSU will face Texas A&M in the second round, as the Aggies knocked off Arizona in the first match of the day, three sets to one.
The Green Wave fall in the NCAA tournament first round for the first time, dropping their overall tournament mark to 1-2. Tulane advanced to the second round last year in the program's first ever berth in the tournament.