Nov. 7, 2013
NEW ORLEANS - Tulane's volleyball team last left the court with a bitter taste in their mouths, dropping a tight match to North Texas on Sunday. Over the weekend, they will look to avenge that loss on the road, as they play Tulsa at the Donald W. Reynolds Center in Tulsa, Okla., on Friday, followed by a trip to Houston on Sunday to take on Rice at Tudor Fieldhouse.
The match against Tulsa will take place at 7pm CT, while the contest against Rice will begin at 1pm CT. Live stats can be followed by clicking on the GameTracker links on the sidebar of the Tulane volleyball schedule page at TulaneGreenWave.com. Live streaming video can be accessed through each school's All-Access pages.
Tulane is in the middle of an illustrious season, but hit a bump in the road on Sunday when they fell to North Texas in Denton, Texas, in four sets last Sunday. Before the loss, the Green Wave had rattled off nine-straight victories, including eight against C-USA foes.
On the season, the Green Wave are 22-3 overall, with a league record of 8-2. Tulane sits in third place in the league standings.
Tulsa has been a formidable opponent over the course of the last few years, and they are no slouch this season. Overall, they are 21-4 with a perfect 10-0 record in the conference. Tulane has not defeated Tulsa since facing them on Sept. 25, 2009. Since then, the Green Wave have dropped six straight to the Golden Hurricane. Tulsa has not lost since Sept. 17, when they dropped a five-set heartbreaker to Oklahoma.
Rice has also been a solid program in years past, but have struggled somewhat this season. The Owls are 8-17 overall and 5-6 in league play. They are 3-3 in their last six matches, including back-to-back wins over C-USA opponents FIU and Florida Atlantic. Before taking on the Green Wave, Rice will travel to Houston Baptist for an non-conference match on Thursday. Similarly to Tulsa, Tulane has not picked up a win against Rice since the 2009 season, when they defeated the Owls in straight-sets on Oct. 3, 2009.
Nationally, Tulane ranks tenth in assists per set, while posting the seventh best kills per set mark and the 24th best hitting percentage. The Green Wave's winning percentage of .880 is also eighth-best in the NCAA.
Individually, Tulane has two athletes that rank in the top 35 in their respective stats. Senior setter Mel Mandelbaum comes in at 13th in the NCAA with an average of 11.53 assists per set, which also leads the conference. Freshman middle blocker Sarah Strasner owns the 35th-best hitting percentage in the nation, posting a percentage of .388. She is second in the league standings.
Joining Strasner on the conference hitting percentage list is junior Anna Wruck, who comes in at fifth (.351).
Freshman Tea Juric ranks seventh in the league standings in kills per set, as the native of Croatia is averaging 3.85. Senior Cori Martone is right behind her in eighth place with an average of 3.58 kills per set. Freshman Annie Shurtz is also on the list, coming in at 16th with an average of 3.09. Those three lead the Green Wave in kills on the season with 331, 276 and 275, respectively.
Junior libero Grace Weaver is the only other Green Wave volleyballer in the league rankings, but her name can be found twice: she ranks fifth in digs per set (4.53) and ninth in service aces per set (0.27). She leads the team in both categories, posting 399 digs and 24 service aces on the season.
Mandelbaum just eclipsed 1,000 assists on the season on Sunday against North Texas, giving her the tenth-best single-season total in Green Wave history. The Clovis, Calif., native should also jump two spots to second in Tulane history for the most career assists this weekend, as she is just five shy of passing Luna Rebrovic for third and 29 shy of moving ahead of Megan Murdock for second.
Weaver needs just 12 digs to pass Kelli Dickson's 2005 dig total of 410 for the tenth-most in a single season in Tulane history.
Strasner leads the Green Wave in total blocks with 84 (13 solo), while Wruck's 73 total blocks (nine solo) come in second.
Tulsa is one of the better squads in the nation this year, and their rankings in the NCAA leaderboards show just that. As a team, they come in at 30th in assists per set with an average of 13.09, but they rank first in the nation in digs per set with 18.71.
Kellie Culbertson is fifth in the NCAA in service aces per set, averaging 0.57, while she also ranks 52nd in points per set in the country (4.35).
Tulsa owns the league's best opponent hitting percentage of .153, while ranking second to Tulane in both assists per set (13.09) and kills per set (13.92).
Tulsa'a Miriele Gobbo is 15th in the league in attack percentage (.298), the only Golden Hurricane player in the top-20 on the list. Culbertson ranks tenth in kills per set with 3.48 in the conference while leading the team with 338.
Bailey Clampitt is Tulsa's leading setter, as she has notched 720 assists for an average of 7.42 assists per set, good for 14th in the league rankings.
Tulsa has three athletes who rank in the top-20 in the league standings in digs per set. Brooke Berryhill (4.51), Culbertson (4.25) and Valerie El Houssine (3.63) come in at sixth, eighth and 16th in the league rankings.
Rice is only in the top-50 in the NCAA for one category: assists per set. As a team, the Owls post 12.79 assists per set, ranking 50th in the nation.
In the conference rankings, Rice comes in at third as a team in digs per set, posting an average of 15.43. The Owls are sixth in kills per set with an average of 13.53, while coming in at fourth in assists per set, averaging 12.79.
The Owls also rank in the top half of the league in hitting percentage (seventh, .214) and blocks per set (seventh, 2.04).
Jillian Humphrey leads the team in hitting percentage with a percentage of .293, good enough for 16th in the league standings. She is also the team's top attacker, as she is 18th in the league in kills per set with an average of 3.06. She has notched a total of 291 kills on the year.
Humphrey is also the team's top blocker, as she averages 1.07 blocks per set, ranking her fifth in C-USA.
Sara Blasier is the team's setter, and she pulls down 10.23 assists per set, ranking her seventh in the league standings. The Owls have two athletes on the top-20 digs list as Daniela Arenas (seventh, 4.26) and Kimberly Vaio (19th, 3.15) can find their names among the league's best.
After the weekend, the Green Wave will return home for the final regular season weekend of the season, as they take on Louisiana Tech (Nov. 15) and Middle Tennessee (Nov. 17) before heading to Murfreesboro, Tenn., for the Conference USA Championship.
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