Sept. 22, 2011
Season Statistics | Conference USA Weekly Release
9/25/11 & 9/25/11
Tulane Green Wave at Rice Owls/Houston Cougars
Start Times: 7:00 (Rice) & 1:00 (Houston)
Arena: Tudor Fieldhouse & Athletics/Alumni Center
Series Information: Houston Leads Tulane 23-10/Tulane Leads Rice 12-11
GameTracker & Live Video Available for Both Matches
Looking at the Green Wave
Tulane walked away from an almost disastrous weekend at the Kathy Trosclair Memorial on a positive note, defeating South Alabama to finish second in their final tune-up before Conference USA play starts. Tulane fell in five sets to Belmont to open their second home tournament of the season, they followed that with a loss to Lamar in three sets before claiming a five-set win over South Alabama. Cori Martone earned her second nod to an All-Tournament Team last weekend, while Nikki Osuna grabbed her first career All-Tournament Team accolades at the Kathy Trosclair Memorial.
On the season, the Green Wave are ¬¬5-6 overall and open their Conference USA slate in Texas against Houston and Rice. Tulane split a pair of matches with the Cougars last season at home and fell twice to the Owls in Houston during the 2010 slate. Houston holds a 23-10 advantage in the overall series, including an 18-10 advantage in C-USA play, while the Green Wave hold a slim edge versus Rice, 12-11, in the overall series. Tulane holds a 9-5 mark in Conference USA play against the Owls.
Martone has paced the offense in five of the last eight matches, including a 20-kill effort against San Diego State and 15-plus kills versus South Alabama and at FIU. The sophomore ranks among the Conference USA leaders in all five of the offensive categories. Martone is fourth in hitting percentage (.365), eight in points per-set (3.77), 11th in kills per-set (3.03), 13th in blocks per-set (0.85) and 16th in service aces per-set (0.27).
Scouting the Houston
The Cougars enter the weekend with an 8-3 overall mark and are 1-0 in Conference USA after taking a 3-0 decision from Rice on the road Tuesday (Sept. 20). Houston's only two losses have come against Top-25 teams, falling to #21 Dayton and at #7 Illinois in back-to-back matches at the State Farm Classic in Champaign, Ill.
The offense is commanded by freshman setter Caitlin Ogletree, who ranks third in the conference is assists per-set (10.51), and junior Katie Norris, who sits ninth in C-USA in kills per-set (3.08). Norris paces the squad with 117 kills, while Luzy Charuk ranks second in kills (11) and leads the team with 49 total blocks in 39 sets. Freshman libero Natalie Keck leads the team with 169 digs and is second on the team with 23 assists.
Scouting the Rice
Rice dropped their Conference USA opener to Houston on Tuesday (Sept. 20) and are 5-7 overall starting the weekend. The Owls, like Tulane, start four underclassmen this season. A pair of freshmen, Lizzy Bache and Jillian Humphrey, and the sophomore duo of Megan Murphy and Mariah Riddlesprigger all begin the match on the floor, alongside juniors Nancy Cole and Laurie McNamara and senior libero Megan White.
The Owls are led by Cole's 125 kills (2.66 kills per-set), while Bache sports the team's highest hitting percentage at .252. Cole is the only Owls player to rank among the C-USA leaders in an offensive category, sitting 20th in kills per-set. Murphy leads the Rice offense from the setter position and is averaging 10.40 assists per set, which is fourth in Conference USA, while White leads the defense with at 4.57 digs per set.