Senior right-side hitter Milica Jovic and the Green Wave will play host to Conference USA foes Rice and Houston over the weekend in the Hertz Center.
Oct. 18, 2012
NEW ORLEANS - The Tulane University volleyball team will open the second half of its Conference USA schedule over the weekend when the Green Wave play host to league foes Rice and Houston in the Hertz Center. Tulane will battle Rice on Friday at 7 p.m. before squaring off against the Cougars on Sunday with first serve slated for 1 p.m.
Friday's match against the Owls will be Tulane's annual "Dig Pink" contest as proceeds from the contest will go to the Susan G. Komen For The Cure Foundation to assist their continued efforts to research breast cancer. "Dig Pink" is part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and fans are encouraged to join the Tulane team - which will be wearing pink accents during the contest - by wearing pink to show support for breast cancer survivors as well as those who have lost their battle with the ailment.
The Last Meeting
October 7, 2012
The Last Meeting
October 5, 2012
"I think it's a great cause," Tulane head volleyball coach Sinisa Momic, whose mother in law Janette Vicknair is a breast cancer survivor, said. "It raises awareness overall and on such a big scale for years now. It's not only volleyball, but in other sports. My family has had to deal with it. My mother in law used to work with a cancer research facility and I think everybody knows somebody that has dealt with cancer. You can't stress enough how important that is."
This weekend's matches mark the second time during the 2012 campaign that the Green Wave will face Rice and Houston, and Tulane will be looking for better results this time around after dropping both contests two weeks ago on the road.
While Tulane hopes home-court advantage may be the difference the second time through the order, the Green Wave may be without the services of junior Cori Martone - who missed the Tulsa game with a shoulder injury - while junior setter Mel Mandelbaum has been fighting through a leg injury that has limited her mobility in recent matches.
"We don't know about Cori," Momic said. "We'll see today, but it's pretty bad. And Mel hasn't been practicing at all for weeks now, she's just playing. That's two key players, but we'll try and figure out what we can do. It's good to be home, especially with what we've been struggling with. When we're not feeling stable or think we can't pull through, I think home court can give you that edge. I think it's very important for our team."
Tulane enters Friday's "Dig Pink" contest against Rice 4-16 overall, 2-7 in C-USA play and looking to snap a four-match skid dating back to a four-match loss at Houston on Oct. 5. As a team, Tulane is averaging 11.95 kills, 11.35 assists, 14.65 digs and 1.72 blocks per set.
Martone leads the squad with 3.66 kills per set while senior right-side hitter Milica Jovic and sophomore outside Grace Weaver follow with respective averages of 2.43 and 2.33. Mandelbaum and senior Lilly Wolfe have split time at setter throughout the 2012 campaign and hold assist-per-game averages of 7.41 and 3.96. Junior libero Azarri Badawi paces the club with 3.30 digs per contest and sophomore middle blocker Olivia Utt headlines the team with 0.97 blocks per outing.
Tulane is hitting .181 (968 kills, 459 errors, 2809 attempts) on the season while allowing opponents to attack at a .235 clip (1061k-400e-2818a). Green Wave opponents are averaging 13.10 kills, 12.04 assists, 14.79 digs and 2.35 blocks per set so far in 2012.
Rice comes to town 14-9 on the year, 7-2 in C-USA play and looking to build on the momentum of a 3-1 win over East Carolina last Sunday at Tudor Fieldhouse. As a team, the Owls are averaging 14.26 kills, 13.45 assists, 17.09 digs and 2.37 blocks per set.
Nancy Cole leads the team with 3.55 kills per set while Megan Murphy has a team-best 11.20 assists per frame. Daniela Arenas leads the Rice defense with 3.80 digs per set and Jillian Humphrey headlines the front-line "D" with 1.23 blocks per outing.
Rice is hitting .239 (1169k-423e-3115a) for the year while allowing its opponents to hit .193 (1077k-468e-3157a). Owl opponents are averaging 13.13 kills, 12.46 assists, 15.72 digs and 2.16 blocks per set.
Houston, which will play at UPEP on Friday, enters the weekend with a 6-13 record, a 5-4 league record and wins in its last two outings with a 3-0 victory at East Carolina and a 3-1 decision over Marshall last weekend. As a team, the Cougars are averaging 11.82 kills, 11.10 assists, 14.96 digs and 2.04 blocks per set.
Katie Norris leads the team with 3.86 kills per set while Abby Simmons has a team-best 8.90 assists per frame. Natalie Keck leads the Houston defense with 3.97 digs per set and Chandace Tryon headlines the front-line "D" with 1.04 blocks per outing.
Houston is hitting .185 (839k-372e-2518a) for the year while allowing its opponents to hit .228 (958k-373e-2568a). Cougar opponents, meanwhile, are averaging 13.49 kills, 12.66 assists, 16.24 digs and 1.55 blocks per set.
"We played both Houston and Rice already," Momic added. "We were kind of inconsistent against Houston and we weren't happy with the way we played at Rice at all. Now, we have to take advantage of playing at home. What I would like to see is for us to play overall better volleyball right now. Hopefully, that can happen this weekend."
Tickets to this weekend's match 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.