Sept. 10, 2013
NEW ORLEANS - Tulane's volleyball program will look to make history on Wednesday night as they face a squad they share a city with when they head across town to play the New Orleans Privateers at the Human Performance Center at 7pm CT.
Fans can follow the event live by clicking on the live video link on the volleyball schedule page at TulaneGreenWave.com.
Tulane looks to continue their winning ways, as they have made it through seven matches unscathed thus far. In the previous 38 seasons of Tulane volleyball, no team has started a season 8-0, meaning Sinisa Momic's team could become the first in Green Wave history to do so. This year's squad has tied with the 1994 and 2007 Tulane volleyball teams with the longest opening season winning streak.
The Green Wave are coming off a weekend in which they were crowned champions of the Youngstown State Invitational, posting wins over Toledo, YSU and Saint Francis (Pa.). Tulane only needed four sets to notch a victory over both Toledo and YSU, while they took Saint Francis (Pa.) in three sets.
Senior setter Mel Mandelbaum was honored as the MVP of the tournament, while senior Cori Martone and freshman Tea Juric were both named to the All-Tournament Team. Mandelbaum led the team with 139 assists over the three matches, while Martone was third in kills with 32 and second in digs with 44. Juric paced the team with 45 kills while only playing in 10 of the 11 sets. She also led the team in service aces with three.
Prior to the tournament, Tulane defeated Southeastern Louisiana in an in-state match to start their five-game road trip.
Tulane also remains to be the last unbeaten team in Conference USA. As a team, the Green Wave are hitting .271, good for second in Conference USA and 42nd in the nation. Their assists per set average of 12.88 is also second in the league, as is their kills per set average of 13.77.
Mandelbaum owns the team lead in both assists (260) and service aces (seven). Her 260 assists are good for fourth in the league
Defensively, the Green Wave are stout, with freshman Sarah Strasner, Martone, junior Anna Wruck and Shurtz all posting double-digit block totals with 26, 19, 15 and 11, respectively. Strasner owns the high-water mark for solo blocks with three.
Junior Grace Weaver - focusing solely on the libero position this year - has come up big, as she is the front runner in digs with 129.
Nationally, Strasner is ranked ninth in hitting percentage, hitting at a clip of .495 with 55 kills in 95 total attempts with only eight errors. She also ranks first in Conference USA in the category.
The Privateers are coming into the match with the exact opposite record of the Green Wave. UNO dropped a match in five sets to Louisiana Tech on Saturday at the Louisiana Tech Invitational. UNO opened the tournament with losses to Western Michigan and McNeese State - both in three sets. The Privateers had not won a set during the season until capturing the two against Louisiana Tech.
Offensively, four Privateers own 25 or more kills with Kelsea Hundtoft leading the pack with 33. Celeste Ramirez is their main setter, as she has recorded 70 assists so far, while Ariane Labrzycki has added 59. Lauren Levy owns eight service aces to pace the squad.
At the net, only Ashley Everett has a double-digit block tally with 10, but Alyssa Podwell and Cara Sander own nine apiece.
Levy is the leader in digs for the Privateers with 77, but the team has two others with more than 30 on the season.
The Privateers are a part of Tulane volleyball history, as the Green Wave's first match in the history of the program took place against UNO on Oct. 1, 1975, with Tulane earning the victory. Tulane has faced UNO in volleyball 83 times, more than any other opponent in Green Wave history. Despite having played them more than any other opponent in program history, Tulane has not met UNO since the Green Wave disposed of the Privateers in four sets on Sept. 10, 2009.
Tulane holds the all-time lead over UNO, 60-23.
The match will also be a reunion of sorts for Tulane freshman Ally Frank, as her twin sister Brooklyn plays for UNO. The natives of Saskatoon, Canada, have both made the transition to the Big Easy, with Ally recording three assists in two sets, while Brooklyn has logged four digs in eight sets.
Fans can follow the Green Wave volleyball program on Twitter (GreenWaveVB) or on Facebook at facebook.com/GreenWaveVolleyball.