Volleyball to Close Three-Game Road Swing at East Carolina

TULANEGREENWAVE.COM Senior setter Mel Mandelbaum is 55 assists shy of moving into fourth place in career assists at Tulane
Senior setter Mel Mandelbaum is 55 assists shy of moving into fourth place in career assists at Tulane

Oct. 11, 2013

NEW ORLEANS - One week after going 2-0 in Conference USA play on the road while picking up the Hitter and Setter of the Week awards from the league, Tulane's volleyball team will end a three-game road swing at East Carolina on Sunday at Minges Coliseum in Greenville, N.C., for a 1pm CT tilt.

Live stats can be followed on TulaneGreenWave.com by clicking on the GameTracker link on the volleyball schedule page. Live video will also be provided through ECU's web site, ecupirates.com, to paid members of their All-Access package.

The Green Wave are 17-2 overall and 3-1 in Conference USA play, posting straight-set wins at Charlotte and Marshall last week, and defeating UTEP in four sets during the first weekend of league play.

This past week, freshman Tea Juric and senior Mel Mandelbaum were honored by the league for their play last week as Hitter of the Week and Setter of the Week, respectively. The dual honors marked the first time since Sept. 28, 2009 that Tulane had two Player of the Week awards in one week.

In a season littered with milestones for Mandelbaum, she is only 55 assists shy of jumping Rachel Lindelow for fourth place in the all-time Tulane record books for career assists.

Tulane continues to boast the best hitting percentage for a team in the league, as they have hit at a clip of .277 this year, 21 points higher than second place UTSA. The Green Wave have fallen to third in opponent hitting percentage (.162), but are only three points out of first place in that category.

Thanks in large part to Mandelbaum, Tulane paces C-USA in assists per set with an average of 13.52. As a team, the Green Wave also lead the league in kills per set with 14.61. The Green Wave are also tenth in the NCAA in kills per set, while coming in at 15th in the nation in assists per set.



In addition to their team rankings in the league, Tulane is one of only five schools in the NCAA to have three student-athletes averaging 3.00 kills per set or more, as Juric (3.91), senior Cori Martone (3.22) and freshman Annie Shurtz (3.19) lead the way for the Green Wave.

Individually, freshman Sarah Strasner slipped a spot in the league standings in hitting percentage, as she comes in at second for the first time this season. The Houston, Texas, native is hitting at a clip of .392 this season. Juric comes in at 13th on the hitting percentage rankings, posting a percentage of .314.

Juric also ranks seventh in kills per set with an average of 3.91. Martone (3.22) and Shurtz (3.19) are not far behind, coming in at 12th and 13th, respectively.

Mandelbaum has finally overtaken the top spot in the league standings in assists per set, averaging 11.35. The Clovis, Calif., native's average also ranks 23rd nationally. Mandelbaum also comes in at 20th in service aces per set in the league with an average of 0.25.

Juric holds the team lead in kills with 250, while Shurtz is the only other Green Wave hitter with more than 200, as she has 214. Martone (177), Strasner (142) and junior Anna Wruck (116) have all posted triple-digit kill numbers this year.

Mandelbaum owns 738 of the team's 906 total assists, and she ranks second on the team in service aces with 16. Only Weaver's 18 are better than Mandelbaum's, while Juric (15), Strasner (10) and Shurtz (10) have all chipped in significantly while serving this season.

Defensively, Weaver paces the team with 305 digs, but four others have 135 digs or more. At the net, Strasner's 65 total blocks (10 solo) are a team-high, while Wruck has 48 total blocks (seven solo) and Martone owns 36 total blocks (two solo).

The Pirates have a 9-11 record overall, and are winless in three matches in league play. The squad has posted back-to-back straight-set non-conference victories over Savannah State and Charleston Southern, but lost at North Texas, at Rice and against UAB before that.

East Carolina is holding their opponents to a hitting percentage of .181, good for fourth in C-USA.

Junior libero Grace Weaver is on two lists, as well, as she has managed 4.62 digs per set - good for fifth place in the league - while also ranking 13th in service aces per set with an average of 0.27.

Individually, the Pirates are led by Nichole Willis, who is fifth in the C-USA standings in kills per set with 3.98. She leads the team with 259 total kills. Willis also leads the team in service aces with 15.

Toore Blake owns 134 kills, while Whitney Campbell has 112 kills to her name.

Zarah Cecich is their leading assister, as she has posted 533 of the team's 735 on the year.

The Pirates are well rounded defensively, as Shelby Beasley (233) and Willis (215) both have over 200 digs. Three others have 100 or more digs. Kierra Lee-Dunson owns a team-high 55 total blocks (five solo).

The two teams have squared off against one another dating back to 1998. Tulane leads the overall series by a whopping 13-1.

Upon return from North Carolina, the Green Wave will host three-straight C-USA matches as Southern Miss will visit on Oct. 18th, followed by contests against FIU (Oct. 20) and Florida Atlantic (Oct. 25).

Fans can follow the Green Wave volleyball program on Twitter (GreenWaveVB) or on Facebook at facebook.com/GreenWaveVolleyball.