July 22, 2011
NEW ORLEANS - The Tulane volleyball program has announced the addition of two players to their 2011 roster, as Madison Nieberlein and Olivia Utt will both join the Green Wave program when fall practice opens on August 13. Utt will enroll as a first year student at Tulane, while Nieberlein spend last season on campus as a student, but will join the Green Wave as a redshirt-freshman for 2011.
Nieberlein attended Tulane as a true freshman last season but was not a member of the Green Wave squad. A three year letterwinner for Ursuline Academy in Dallas, Texas, Nieberlein also played sand volleyball during her prep career and was a member of the swimming and diving program. A versatile player, Nieberlein will help at the net as an outside hitter, while also contributing as a libero.
Utt joins Tulane after a standout prep career at Lovett High School in Atlanta, Ga. which featured four varsity letters in volleyball and three in basketball. The right side/middle blocker helped guide the Lions to the State Final Four and was selected as a First Team All-State performer during her senior season. She picked up First Team All-Area laurels her final three seasons at LHS and was an Honorable Mention All-State performer as a junior.
The Green Wave will carry 16 players on the roster for the 2011 campaign. Of the 16 players on the roster, 12 of those will hold either freshman or sophomore status on the court. Nikki Osuna will be the lone senior on this seasons roster, while Izabela Grot , Milica Jovic and Lilly Wolfe are the team's three juniors. Sophomores Azarri Badawi, Cori Martone and Mel Mandelbaum all started at least 20 matches last season, while Milena Dragovic and Elysa Jackson saw ample court time late in the 2010 season.
Tulane will enter the 2011 campaign with some positive momentum after winning six of their final seven matches to finish the year at 13-19 overall. In Conference USA, the Green Wave finished 10-10 and tied for sixth place at seasons end. Grot was the team's lone All-C-USA performer, earning second team honors, while Martone was named the Conference USA Freshman of the Year.
The Green Wave begins the 2011 season at the Tiger Invitational in Columbia, Mo. on August 26-27. Tulane will open the 2011 slate versus North Dakota State at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, August 26 before playing Idaho State later that afternoon. Missouri will await the Olive and Blue to start play on Saturday, August 27 at 12:30, while Binghamton will close out the first weekend of the season at 4:30.