Sept. 26, 2013
NEW ORLEANS- After a record-setting start to the 2013 season, the Tulane volleyball squad will be put to its first true test as they open up Conference USA play on Friday night against UTSA, followed by a Sunday afternoon match against UTEP, both to be played at Devlin Fieldhouse.
Friday night's match against the Roadrunners will begin at 7pm CT, while Sunday's match against the Miners will be held at 1pm CT. Live stats will be made available for both matches on TulaneGreenWave.com, and live, streaming video will be available to All-Access members.
Tulane is off to the school's best start in program history with a record of 13-1. This past weekend, the Green Wave posted two victories over Radford and one over Savannah State to capture the Radford University Highlander Classic. Freshman Tea Juric earned MVP honors, while senior Cori Martone was named to the All-Tournament Team. Juric notched 40 kills over the three matches, while also recording 27 digs and five service aces. Martone sat out the match against Savannah State, but posted 29 kills - including a season-high 18 kills on Saturday - and 18 digs during the two matches against Radford.
As a team, Tulane paces Conference USA in hitting percentage with a mark of .284 (726 kills, 241 errors, 1709 total attempts), while holding opponents to a league low .149 hitting percentage (529 kills, 274 errors, 1708 attempts). Tulane also leads the league in assists per match with 13.38 and kills per match with 14.52.
Individually, freshman Sarah Strasner leads the conference in hitting percentage with an average of .441 (121 kills, 21 errors, 227 attempts), while junior Anna Wruck is ranked seventh (.364) and Juric is ranked tenth (.336).
Juric comes in at sixth in kills per set at 3.87, while fellow freshman Annie Shurtz places 12th in the category with an average of 3.22 kills per set.
Junior libero Grace Weaver has recorded a solid season thus far, placing tenth in C-USA in service aces per set (0.29) while also ranking third in digs per set (4.80).
On the team, Juric leads the way with 182 kills, while Shurtz and Strasner are second and third with 161 and 121 kills, respectively. Martone is fourth on the squad with 110 kills. Weaver leads the squad with 14 service aces, while Mandelbaum (11), Juric (11) and Strasner (10) have also posted double-digit service ace totals.
Mandelbaum is accountable for 79 percent of the team's total assist numbers with 528. Weaver is the pacesetter in digs with 235, while Juric and Shurtz also have over 100 with 128 and 105, respectively.
At the net, seven Green Wave athletes have ten or more blocks, with Strasner leading the way with 54 (nine solo). Wruck is second on the team with 35 blocks (five solo).
UTSA is 8-6 on the year, having dropped a match on Tuesday to Baylor in four sets. Last weekend, the Roadrunners went 1-1 with a straight-set victory over Houston Baptist and a five-set loss to Texas State.
The Roadrunners are led by McKenzie Adams, who has 281 kills, 188 digs, 36 blocks (three solo) and two service aces. Adams leads Conference USA in kills per set, while Annie Kunes paces the league in digs per set with 5.54. Brandy Huskey paces the team in assists with 345, while Kunes and Paige Hamilton lead the team with seven service aces each. Kylie Schott owns the most blocks on the team with 59 (four solo).
UTEP will play Louisiana Tech on Friday before coming down to the Uptown campus for their match against the Green Wave on Sunday. So far this year, the Miners are 6-5, and have won three straight matches over Hampton, South Dakota State and UMass Lowell.
The Miners are led by Xitlali Herrera, a senior middle blocker from Juarez, Mexico. She has recorded 151 kills for an average of 4.19 per set, good for fifth in the league, while also leading the team in blocks with 36 total (eight solo). Malia Patterson is the leading setter for UTEP, as she has posted 364 assists on the season. Talia Jones and Daya Acevedo Rios are tied for the team-lead in service aces with 11 each, and Victoria Valencia paces the squad in digs with 150.
Tulane holds the all-time series lead over both squads. Against UTEP, the Green Wave are 11-4, while going 2-1 against UTSA. Tulane has not faced the Roadrunners since defeating them in four sets on Sept. 14, 2002.
Tulane hasn't opened Conference USA play with a victory since 2010 when they defeated Houston in four sets.
Single game tickets will be available for $6 for adults, $5 for seniors and $4 for children.
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.