Nov. 19, 2009
NEW ORLEANS - The Tulane Green Wave begins its defense of the Conference USA Tournament championship Friday at noon against SMU in the quarterfinals of the 2009 Conference USA Volleyball Championship at championship at Tudor Fieldhouse in Houston. The third seeded Wave have won the previous two meetings with the sixth-seeded Mustangs.
Tulane looks for a second-straight C-USA title and a return trip to the NCAA Tournament as the tournament opens Friday. Tulane finished the regular season at 12-4 in C-USA action, 17-8 overall, and will face the SMU Mustangs in the day's first match at noon Friday.
"SMU is a quality team that we've beaten twice, but it's always tough to play the same team three times. It's going to be a tough matchup," said first-year head coach Sinisa Momic. "We understand we're going to need three quality performances in three matches if we want to win another championship. Our mental preparation is going to be the same no matter who we play. We have to take this one match at a time, because anyone in this conference can be dangerous. We've beaten them twice, but that doesn't mean anything. We can't think it's going to be easy."
SMU and Tulane met twice in the regular season, with the Green Wave taking both contests. The Wave earned a 3-2 win over the Mustangs at Fogelman Arena on Sept. 27, by scores of 23-25,25-21,25-19,21-25,15-12, and Tulane won in Dallas, 3-1 (18-25,25-20,25-20,26-24) on October 30.
Sophomore Visnja Djurdjevic, the 2009 C-USA co-Player of the Year racked up a career-high 29 kills and set a Tulane record with 36 digs in the meeting in Fogelman Arena. She also posted 14 kills with another 16 digs in the win in Dallas.
Second Team All-Conference USA selection Ksenija Vlaskovic, a senior, averaged 3.44 kills per set and 2.78 digs per set in the two wins over SMU. Senior setter Rachel Lindelow, also a Second Team All C-USA selection, added 13.33 sets per set with 3.56 digs per set against the Mustangs this season. Freshman Marija Milosavljevic, a All-Freshman Team member, chipped in 3.89 kills per set against SMU.
Tulane is 10-2 all-time against the Mustangs, and have won eight in a row dating back to 2005. The Green Wave and Mustangs have never met in the C-USA Tournament.
The Green Wave are 13-13 all-time in the C-USA Tournament and are 3-1 in the quarterfinal round the last four seasons. Should the Green Wave advance, they would take on the winner of second-seeded Tulsa and seventh-seeded UAB, which will take place at approximately 2 p.m., following Tulane versus SMU.
The Green Wave finished two games back of regular season champion and number one seed Southern Miss (26-4 overall, 14-2 C-USA). The Golden Eagles take on eighth-seeded Houston at 7 p.m., following the matchup between host Rice, the four-seed, and fifth-seeded Marshall at 5 p.m.