Freshman Sarah Strasner leads Conference USA in hitting percentage
Sept. 12, 2013
NEW ORLEANS - After setting a program record for the most wins to start the season on Wednesday night, Tulane's volleyball program will have one day of preparation before hosting their second tournament of the year in the Allstate Sugar Bowl Collegiate Classic on Friday and Saturday at Devlin Fieldhouse.
Tulane will square off against Texas Southern at 12pm CT on Friday before playing Florida A&M at 7:30pm CT later that night. Florida A&M will face North Dakota at 10am CT on Friday morning, with Texas Southern and North Dakota also playing on Friday at 5:30pm CT.
Saturday's action will see Florida A&M and Texas Southern battle it out at 12pm CT, while Tulane will close the tournament with a match against North Dakota at 3pm CT.
Live stats will be available through GameTracker links on the TulaneGreenWave.com volleyball schedule. Live streaming video will also be made available through an All-Access subscription for Tulane matches only.
Single game tickets will be available for $6 for adults, $5 for seniors and $4 for children.
For Friday's matches, fans are encouraged to park in the Rosen Lot before 5pm CT, as the Loyola lot will not be available until then. Fans may park in the Loyola lot for Saturday's matches.
Against New Orleans on Wednesday, Tulane's squad became the first in the 39-year history of the program to string together eight straight wins to start a season. Only two other teams in the history of the program - the 1994 and 2007 squads - posted 7-0 records to begin a campaign, failing to do what this year's team ultimately accomplished at the Human Performance Center on UNO's campus on Wednesday.
Tulane sits in the driver's seat in the Conference USA standings through the first three weeks of the season. UAB has a 7-2 record, good for second place, while Tulsa (6-2), Florida Atlantic (5-2), Southern Miss (5-2) and Middle Tennessee (5-2) have all posted only two losses thus far.
As a team, Tulane is out in front of the pack in both hitting percentage and opponent hitting percentage in the league. The Green Wave are hitting .276 (403 kills, 134 errors, 975 attempts) through their first eight matches of the season. On the defensive side, they are holding opponents to a .116 clip (285 kills, 170 errors, 989 attempts).
The Green Wave also sit in the top half of Conference USA in kills per set (second, 13.90), assists per set (fourth, 12.83) and digs per set (sixth, 15.76).
Individually, freshman Annie Shurtz leads the team in kills with 99, while fellow freshman Tea Juric is right behind her with 92. Senior Cori Martone, who did not play against UNO, is third on the team with 75. Shurtz is sixth in the league standings in kills, while Juric's 3.54 kills per set is good for seventh in C-USA.
Senior Mel Mandelbaum paces the squad with 291 assists, good for an average of 10.03 per set that sits in sixth place in C-USA. The Clovis, Calif., native also leads the team in service aces with eight.
Defensively, junior libero Grace Weaver is the team-leader in digs with 136, averaging 4.69 per set. She holds down the fourth place spot in C-USA in digs per set. At the net, freshman Sarah Strasner leads the team in solo blocks with three and block assists with 27. Martone owls 20 total blocks (one solo), while junior Anna Wruck has 18 (two solo) and Shurtz owns 13 (two solo).
Strasner is also tops in C-USA in hitting percentage, notching a clip of .513 (67 kills, nine errors, 113 attempts).
Texas Southern owns a 3-5 record this year, notching wins over Southern, Prairie View A&M and Huston-Tillotson. Individually, the Tigers are led by senior middle blocker Veronica Azubuike's 66 kills.
North Dakota is 1-6 during the 2013 season. They faced some stiff competition at the Middle Tennessee State Invitational last weekend, dropping matches to UAB, Austin Peay, Virginia Tech and MTSU. Their lone win on the season came against South Dakota State. Lexi Robinson leads the squad with 79 kills, followed by Lisa Parlich's 73.
Florida A&M is 2-4 on the season, posting victories over North Florida and UT Chattanooga.
The Green Wave have never faced North Dakota during their 39-year history, but hold the all-time series leads on both Florida A&M (1-0) and Texas Southern (3-0).
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.