Sophomore Grace Weaver and the Tulane volleyball team return to action on Thursday when they play host to Conference USA foe Tulsa at 7 p.m. in the Hertz Center.
Oct. 31, 2012
NEW ORLEANS - The Tulane University volleyball team returns to action on Thursday, Nov. 1, when the Green Wave play host to Conference USA foe Tulsa at 7 p.m. in the Hertz Center.
The match figures to be a big one for both teams as the Green Wave are still trying to lock down a spot in the upcoming C-USA Volleyball Championship while the Golden Hurricane are aiming to maintain its spot atop the league standings.
Volleyball Drops Straight-Sets C-USA Decision At Tulsa
Junior setter Mel Mandelbaum posted a double-double with 11 assists and 11 digs, but it was not enough as the Tulane University volleyball team dropped a 3-0 Conference USA decision to Tulsa on Sunday afternoon at the Donald W. Reynolds Center.
"To make the tournament, we have to play every game, every set and ever match the best that we can and hope for the best," Tulane head volleyball coach Sinisa Momic said. "There is a chance but we have to play our best over these last four matches. Every set can be a difference maker for us."
Tulane is one match behind Memphis and Southern Miss, who share the No. 9 spot in the conference standings with 4-8 league records, and two matches in back of the 6-6 Houston, Marshall and SMU teams for sixth. While the Wave dropped their lone regular-season meetings with Memphis and Southern Miss, Tulane does have a 1-1 split with Houston to its credit. The Green Wave will have a chance to potentially climb the standings with a home match against SMU on Sunday and a road match at Marshall on Nov. 9.
As a team, Tulane is averaging 12.02 kills, 11.37 assists, 14.77 digs and 1.84 blocks per set. Junior outside hitter Cori Martone, who returned to the line-up last week at UTEP after missing the previous three matches with a shoulder injury, leads the squad with 3.60 kills per set. Senior right-side hitter Milica Jovic and sophomore outside Grace Weaver follow with respective averages of 2.57 and 2.00.
Junior Mel Mandelbaum and senior Lilly Wolfe have split time at setter throughout the 2012 campaign and hold assist-per-game averages of 7.24 and 3.98. Junior libero Azarri Badawi paces the club with 2.99 digs per contest and sophomore middle blocker Olivia Utt headlines the team with 0.95 blocks per outing. Weaver, however, has been seeing more time at libero in recent matches and is second on the team with 2.90 digs per contest.
Tulane is hitting .184 (1130 kills, 531 errors, 3262 attempts) on the season while allowing opponents to attack at a .228 clip (1226k-475e-3295a). Green Wave opponents are averaging 13.04 kills, 11.95 assists, 14.68 digs and 2.33 blocks per set so far in 2012.
"Cori is back, but Mel hasn't been practicing for three weeks now," Momic said. "That doesn't help, but at least she's playing in the matches. There's nothing we can really do about it. It's a serious injury, but we just can't afford to practice her and she's just playing games for us.
"Originally, the idea was to have Grace play libero from start to finish for us this season. We were not happy with the way our outsides were playing, and at that point Grace was our best outside. We had to play her there and that disrupted our libero position. We're at a point now where some people have stepped it up on the outside, Grace is getting more comfortable at libero, and we're going to stick with the lineup and try and develop it for next year."
Tulsa, meanwhile, comes to town 18-8 on the year, 11-1 in C-USA play and riding the crest of a five-match winning streak which includes 3-0 sweeps of Memphis and UAB last weekend. As a team, the Golden Hurricane are averaging 14.60 kills, 13.48 assists, 17.91 digs and 1.57 blocks per set.
Two-time All-American and Conference USA Player of the Year Tyler Henderson leads the team with 5.23 kills per set while Jordan Clampitt has a team-best 7.96 assists per frame. Jessica Adams leads the Tulsa defense with 5.20 digs per set and Carly Boatwright headlines the front-line "D" with 0.68 blocks per outing.
Tulsa is hitting .214 (1402k-566e-3912a) for the year while allowing its opponents to hit .175 (1104k-487e-3516a). Golden Hurricane foes are averaging 11.50 kills, 10.93 assists, 17.19 digs and 2.45 blocks per set.
"For years, they've been the best team in the conference that, in my opinion, has the best player in the conference that gives them all the confidence they need," Momic added. "When they get in trouble, she can score points. On the other hand, we've had a pretty difficult season. I hope that we will accept the challenge and play our best against a team like this and make it very competitive."
Following Thursday's showdown with the Golden Hurricane, Tulane will close out the home portion of its schedule on Sunday, Nov. 4, when the Green Wave take on SMU at 1 p.m. in the Hertz Center. During that contest, Tulane will honor the 2012 senior class of Jovic, Wolfe and Izabela Grot with a special ceremy.
Tickets this week's matches, as well as 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.