Volleyball To Host C-USA Foes Memphis, UAB Over Weekend

TULANEGREENWAVE.COM Senior Milica Jovic and the Tulane volleyball team will play host to Conference USA foes Memphis and UAB over the weekend in the Hertz Center.
Senior Milica Jovic and the Tulane volleyball team will play host to Conference USA foes Memphis and UAB over the weekend in the Hertz Center.

Sept. 27, 2012

Coach Momic's Comments Following Thursday's Practice

NEW ORLEANS - The Tulane University volleyball team will look to snap a three-match skid over the weekend when the Green Wave play host to Conference USA foes Memphis and UAB in the Hertz Center on Friday and Sunday, respectively. Friday's match against Memphis is slated to start at 7 p.m. while Sunday's showdown with the Blazers will begin at 1 p.m.

The Green Wave enter the weekend 3-11 overall and 1-2 in league play. The record, however, does not necessarily reflect the way Tulane has played throughout the 2012 season. Four of the 11 losses have come in five-set matches, and 14 of the team's 36 set losses have come by three points or less. On top of that, the bulk of those came when the Green Wave actually held late leads.

The Last Meeting
November 11, 2011
Memphis, Tenn.
Memphis Takes Four Setter from Volleyball
As the saying goes "defense wins championships" and on Friday evening defense dealt the Tulane volleyball team their third straight defeat. The Green Wave dropped a four set decision at Memphis, falling by scores of 24-26, 25-19, 19-25, 21-25, inside the Elma Roane Fieldhouse and it came down to the Tiger's ability to keep the ball in play.

The Last Meeting
November 13, 2011
Birmingham, Ala.
Volleyball Falls in Three Sets at UAB
The Green Wave faded down the stretch at Bartow Arena and UAB grew stronger as the match went on to hand the Tulane volleyball team a three-set loss on Sunday afternoon. Cori Martone was able to reach double figures in kills, but the Green Wave fell by scores of 20-25, 16-25, 15-25.

"Right now, the biggest challenge is not the opponent, it's us," Tulane head volleyball coach Sinisa Momic said. "We've shown that we can play well against anybody but then for some reason, most of our matches or sets, we can't close even if we have a big lead. Our unforced errors are killing us. The majority of the (C-USA) teams - other than Tulsa - I don't see a favorite. Anybody can beat anybody. Our focus right now is to fight to close out matches and not lose what we already have in our hands. That's the biggest issue for us as opposed to strategy against Memphis or UAB."

As a team, the Green Wave are averaging 12.4 kills, 11.8 assists, 14.5 digs and 1/7 blocks per set. Junior outside hitter Cori Martone leads the squad with 4.12 kills per set, while junior setter Mel Mandelbaum has a team-best 8.51 assist-per-set average. Junior libero Azarri Badawi paces the club with 3.35 digs per contest and sophomore middle blocker Olivia Utt headlines the team with 0.56 blocks per outing.

Tulane is hitting .200 (709k-315e-1971a) on the season while allowing opponents to attack at a .232 clip (743k-287e-1967a). Green Wave opponents, meanwhile, are averaging 13.0 kills, 12.1 assists, 14.5 digs and 2.2 blocks per set so far in 2012.

"We're keeping things positive," Momic said. "It's like I said after our last match, it's not like we don't have players that are good at every position. The score proves that up to a certain point, and then we mess it up. Every day in practice, we just have to figure out how to win. We're scrimmaging as hard as we can. Whatever drill we do, we just need to find a way to finish.

"It's not a question of quality to reach a certain point. It's not like we don't have players to get a 22-20 lead. We do. But then the question is what to do after that. It's not like we're averaging 5-10 (in height) and everybody is beating us 25-12. We have the lead. We just can't close. We're making practices as competitive as possible and we are working hard to figure it out."

Memphis comes to town 5-11 on the year, 0-2 in C-USA play and looking to snap a three-match skid of its own after falling to Louisiana-Lafayette on Sept. 15, Rice on Sept. 21 and Houston on Sept. 23.

As a team, the Tigers are averaging 12.6 kills, 11.7 assists, 15.2 digs and 1.8 blocks per set. Altrese Hawkins leads the team with 4.05 kills per set while Jaden Louie and Veronica Zimmerman split time at setter and average 8.91 and 8.70 assists per set, respectively. Aleksandra Petronijevic leads the Memphis defense with 4.07 digs per set and Katie Meyer headlines the front-line "D" with 0.98 blocks per outing.

Memphis is hitting .192 (716k-332e-2003a) for the year while allowing its opponents to hit .227 (725k-274e-1989k). Tiger opponents, meanwhile, are averaging 12.7 kills, 11.5 assists, 14.5 digs and 2.4 blocks per set.

UAB, which will play at UTEP on Friday, enters the weekend with a 7-9 record, a 1-1 mark in C-USA play and looking to bounce back from a five-set loss to Rice on Sept. 23.

As a team, the Blazers are averaging 12.5 kills, 11.4 assists, 15. 3 digs and 2.3 blocks per set. Four UAB players are averaging at least 2.0 kills per set with Sam Serley and Kate Morrell headlining the quartet with respective averages of 2.64 and 2.62. Alison Woods paces the Blazers with 5.97 assists per stanza, Rachel Fairbanks has a team-best 4.67 digs-per-set average, and Serley leads the defense with 1.25 blocks per set.

UAB is hitting .205 (763k-308e-2215a) for the year while allowing its opponents to hit .201 (815k-358e-2274a). Blazer opponents, meanwhile, are averaging 13.4 kills, 12.3 assists, 16.8 digs and 2.2 blocks per set.

Tickets to this weekend's volleyball matches and future Green Wave events are currently for sale through the Tulane Athletics Ticket Office. The Ticket Office is located on the first floor of the Wilson Center on Ben Weiner Drive, and tickets can be purchased in person, over the phone at 504-861-WAVE (9283) or via the Internet at www.TulaneGreenWave.com.