Oct. 25, 2008
HOUSTON - The Tulane University volleyball team returns to action on Sunday, Oct. 26, when the Green Wave take on Conference USA rival Houston at 2 p.m. at the Athletics Alumni Center on the UH campus.
Live stats for Sunday's contest are available free of charge on the internet at www.TulaneGreenWave.com via GameTracker, and the match will be televised tape-delayed on Tuesday, Oct. 28, at 7 p.m. on CBS College Sports Network (channel 315 on Cox Digital Cable, channel 613 on DirecTV, channel 152 on Dish Network).
While Tulane is enjoying a spectacular season at 17-5 overall and 8-1 in league play, Houston has been a tough opponent for the Wave as the Cougars own a 22-6 advantage in the all-time series. In addition, Tulane has not defeated the Cougars in Houston since the 2004 season.
"We have had our challenges climbing through the conference rankings, and Houston has been one of them," Tulane head coach Liz Kritza said. "I fully expect them to be playing well on their home floor, just like we take pride in defending our home court.
"Sunday's match is also a TV match. We have already had one (a five-set loss at UAB on Oct. 5) and we did not like the result. But we have used that. It has been one our best learning tools throughout the season so far. There were mistakes that we will not repeat twice."
The Green Wave enter the contest winners of 15 of their last 16 matches and are currently riding a six-match winning streak, including a five-set victory over Rice Friday night at Fox Gym. As a team, the Green Wave are averaging 13.88 kills, 13.00 assists, 14.57 digs and 1.98 blocks per set. Senior outside hitter Sara Radosevic leads the squad with 3.67 kills per set, junior libero Jenn Miller paces the club with 3.87 digs per contest, and senior middle blocker Jen Linder headlines the team with 0.95 blocks per outing.
Tulane is hitting .240 (1124-443-2834) on the season while allowing opponents to attack at a .179 clip (953-459-2766). Green Wave opponents, meanwhile, are averaging 11.77 kills, 10.96 assists, 13.64 digs and 2.41 blocks per set so far in 2008.
Houston, meanwhile, comes into the match 14-9 overall, 6-4 in Conference USA play, and winners of seven of its last night contests. The Cougars are 7-0 at home in 2008, including a 3-1 victory over UTEP on Friday night.
As a team, the Cougars are averaging 13.16 kills, 12.08 assists, 12.34 digs and 2.35 blocks per set. Justine Farmer paces Houston with 3.87 kills per set, Amanda Carson leads the club with 3.06 digs per set, and Lucy Chanuk headlines the front-row defense with 1.31 blocks per stanza.
Houston is hitting .237 (1145-477-2824) for the year while limiting opponents to a .204 clip (1016-455-2754). Cougar opponents are averaging 11.68 kills, 10.66 assists, 11.63 digs and 2.10 blocks per set.
With six regular-season matches left of the Tulane schedule following Sunday's contest against Houston, the Green Wave still have a chance to prove the preseason prognosticators correct and win the first conference title in the history of the program. Tulane is tied for the C-USA lead with just one league loss, and while the team is quick to check opponent scores following each match, Kritza said her team understands the importance of taking care of its own business.
"At this point, we have to go out and focus on each individual match," Kritza said. "You have to focus on what you control and we cannot control who beats who in our conference. As I have said all year long, if we are not focusing on continual improvement and the match directly ahead of us, then we lose focus on the things that have helped us reach this point.
"We are always going to be checking the scores and there are a lot of scenarios and what ifs, but focusing on that is not what gets you to your eventual goal of being at the top of your conference and getting to the NCAA Tournament. Focusing on how you are playing and how you are preparing for the opponent at hand will. So that is what we have decided to focus on as a program."
Following Tulane's C-USA contest against Houston, the Green Wave continue their four-match road swing on Friday, Oct. 31, when they travel to Orlando to take on UCF at 6 p.m. From there, Tulane will play at Southern Miss on Nov. 4 and the Green Wave's next home match will be on Friday, Nov. 7, with a 7 p.m. showdown against C-USA foe SMU. For ticket information, contact the Tulane University Athletics Ticket Office at 504-861-WAVE.