Director of Tulane volleyball Sinisa Momic and senior setter Mel Mandelbaum have the Green Wave sitting at 20-2 on the season
Oct. 24, 2013
NEW ORLEANS - For their last home match in the month of October, the 20-2 Tulane volleyball program will square off against Conference USA opponent Florida Atlantic on Friday at Devlin Fieldhouse before embarking on a three-game road swing.
Live stats can be followed by clicking on the GameTracker link on the Tulane volleyball schedule page. Streaming video will be made available to paid members of the All-Access pass.
Tulane currently sits in third place in the league standings with a 6-1 record against C-USA opponents, but have the top overall record, becoming the first team in the conference to secure 20 wins when they dispatched FIU last Sunday in straight sets.
The Green Wave have a seven-game winning streak on their hands, dating back to Sept. 29th when they defeated UTEP. It's not even the longest winning streak of the season for the team, as they started the 2013 campaign 10-0 for the best start in program history.
Also against FIU, Tulane posted their 11th straight-set victory on the year. Tulane's 20 wins on the season, as well as the 11 straight-set wins, are the most by a team since the 2008 squad that won the Conference USA Championship.
Against FIU on Sunday, the Green Wave held the Panthers to a hitting percentage of -.031, the lowest by a conference opponent since the stat started being kept in 2001. On the season, Tulane is holding opponents to a .156 hitting percentage, second in the league rankings.
Tulane does lead the league in three major statistical categories, as they rank first in hitting percentage (.270), assists per set (13.64) and kills per set (14.73).
On the national level, the Green Wave rank sixth in the NCAA in kills per set while coming in at 11th in the NCAA in assists per set. The team also ranks 22nd in the nation in hitting percentage. The Green Wave also have a winning percentage of .909, which ranks sixth in the NCAA.
The team's success can be attributed to many of its players, as many of the Green Wave players pepper the top-20 statistical rankings in C-USA.
Senior setter Mel Mandelbaum not only ranks second in the conference in assists per set with an average of 11.51, but she also comes in at 15th in the NCAA overall rankings. The Clovis, Calif., native also ranks 15th overall in the league in service aces per set with 0.25.
The team leads the conference in hitting percentage, thanks in large part to freshman Sarah Strasner, junior Anna Wruck and freshman Tea Juric. Strasner is third overall in the league with a hitting percentage of .380, while Wruck is ranked two spots below her at fifth with a hitting percentage of .360. Juric comes in at 15th with a hitting percentage of .294. Tulane is the only team in the league rankings with three individuals in the top-20 in hitting percentage.
As for Juric, the Croatian freshman can also be found at sixth overall in kills per set with an average of 3.89. Senior Cori Martone also ranks among the league's best in kills per set, as she is tenth overall with 3.41. Freshman Annie Shurtz comes in at 14th overall with an average of 3.19 kills per set. Once again, Tulane is the only program with three athletes in the top-20 in the category.
Junior libero Grace Weaver can be found in the top-five of two categories, as she is fifth overall in service aces per set (0.30) and digs per set (4.62). The Belton, Texas, native leads the team in both categories, posting 356 digs and 23 service aces on the season.
For the first time this season, a Green Wave athlete is in the top-10 in blocks per set, as Strasner is tied for ninth with an average of 1.00 block per set.
Juric paces the team with 292 kills, while Shurtz has 249, Martone owns 225 and Strasner and Wruck have posted 164 and 135, respectively. As a team, Tulane has posted 294 more kills than their opponents on the year.
Mandelbaum owns 875 assists on the year, and is only 104 shy of tying for the tenth-best single season assist mark in Tulane history, coincidentally posted by her in 2010.
Weaver is just 54 digs shy of tying Kelli Dickson for the 10th best individual dig mark in a season in Green Wave history. Juric (187), Shurtz (169), Mandelbaum (164) and Martone (158) all have triple digit assist numbers, as well.
Seven Green Wave players have double digit block numbers, with Strasner pacing the way with 78 total blocks (12 solo). Wruck is second on the squad with a total of 59 blocks (eight solo).
Florida Atlantic has gone 9-12 overall this year, while posting a league record of 1-6. Their lone C-USA victory came against Charlotte on Sept. 29. The Owls have lost four of their last five matches in straight sets, including losses at FIU, against UAB, versus Tulsa and at UTSA.
The Owls are not ranked in the top half of any statistical category in C-USA as a team.
Individually, middle blocker Katarina Stepanovic is 11th in the league in hitting percentage with an average of .312. She is fourth on the team in kills with 116.
Jelena Jovanovic is the team leader in assists with 662, and she ranks tenth in the conference in assists per set with 8.95. Alessia Pizzoccheri, who leads the squad in kills with 182, is also the team leader in service aces with 19. She ranks 13th in C-USA in service aces per set with 0.26.
Defensively, Nathalie Rosado leads the team with 254 digs, while ranking 17th in the league in digs per set with 3.43. At the net, Stepanovic leads the team in blocks with 64 total (seven solo).
Tulane and Florida Atlantic have only faced each other twice, with the programs splitting the all-time series at one game apiece. In Sept. 2006, Tulane fell to the Owls in five sets at the Holiday Inn Hawkeye Challenge in Iowa City, Iowa. In Sept. 2011, Tulane picked up a straight-set victory against Florida Atlantic in the Allstate Sugar Bowl Collegiate Classic.
Single game tickets will be available for $6 for adults, $5 for seniors and $4 for children.
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 am to 5 pm. 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.