Volleyball Holds First Practice of 2013 Season at Hertz Center

Senior setter Mel Mandelbaum will be relied on heavily by Sinisa Momic and his staff during the 2013 season

Senior setter Mel Mandelbaum will be relied on heavily by Sinisa Momic and his staff during the 2013 season

Aug. 10, 2013

NEW ORLEANS - Tulane's volleyball program took to the courts at the Hertz Center on the Uptown campus on Saturday where the squad went through their first day of practice in preparation for the 2013 season.

The entire squad reported to campus for the first time on Friday. While the team gathered on Friday afternoon for meetings with the coaching staff and other Tulane athletic department personnel, Saturday's practice allowed director of Tulane volleyball Sinisa Momic his first opportunity to see how his team of 17 - including eight newcomers - performed together for the first time.

"I think the first day went well," said Momic. "The girls were in good shape, so we were able to do some more demanding drills. And we have a lot of depth. We have really good players. We worked with the girls individually today on some certain skills. Next week, we will get more into systems and things like that. But all in all, it was a good first day that gave the coaches a chance to see what we were working with."

In addition to working with his student-athletes, Momic was able to work on the court for the first time with his new coaching staff of Wayne Holly, Jaye Loyd and Nikki Osuna. Loyd has been with the program as the director of operations during the last two seasons, but was promoted to an assistant coach in April, while Holly and Osuna were added to the staff earlier this summer.

"I think all four of us will work together very well and be productive," added Momic. "We all complement one another the right way."

The Greenies will hold two-a-days up until the first match of the season on Aug. 30. The morning sessions go from 9am to 11am with a break until the afternoon session from 2:30pm to 5pm.



On Saturday, the team held similar, drill-laden practices in both the morning and the afternoon. At the Hertz Center, Momic and his staff started with general fundamental ball control drills before moving into defensive focused exercises. Towards the end of each practice, the coaching staff added blocking and hitting assignments before competing with smaller squads than the general six-on-six. With the practices, Momic and his staff were able to see how Ally Frank, Annie Shurtz, Miah Diirell, Tea Juric, Sarah Strasner, Lauren Etta, Makenzie Frieden and Amy Lanski all worked together for the first time wearing Tulane colors.

"All of the newcomers did a good job and showed us what they have," said Momic.

Momic also praised the work put in by returnees Grace Weaver, Anna Wruck, Olivia Utt, Amber Bennett, Azarri Badawi, Mel Mandelbaum, Milena Dragovic, Cori Martone and Elysa Jackson during the offseason.

"They all stayed here and worked out in July, and they showed us that they were determined to be in shape," said Momic.

Tulane will open their season at home, as they play host to the Kathy Trosclair Memorial on Aug. 30 and 31 at Devlin Fieldhouse. The Greenies will square off against Mississippi Valley State at 7pm CT on Aug. 30 before playing a doubleheader the following day against Rider (10am CT) and Nicholls State (7pm CT).

Season tickets for Tulane volleyball are $55 for adults and $35 for youth, ages three to 14. For single-game ticket information, contact the Tulane Athletics Ticket Office at (504) 861-WAVE (9283). Group discounts are available when ten or more tickets are purchased.

The Tulane Ticket Office is located on the first floor of the James W. Wilson, Jr. Center and is open weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. For additional information, log onto the official website at www.TulaneGreenWave.com.

Fans can follow the Green Wave volleyball program on Twitter (GreenWaveVB) or on Facebook at facebook.com/GreenWaveVolleyball.