Nov. 19, 2013
IRVING, Texas - Tulane volleyball's Cori Martone, Tea Juric and Mel Mandelbaum were honored by the league offices on Tuesday as they were named to the All-Conference USA First Team, announced the league.
In addition to her inclusion on the All-Conference USA First Team, Juric was named to the All-Freshman Team, as well.
The All-Conference USA teams were voted on by the league's 15 head coaches. Each head coach had to refrain from voting for their own players. The First and Second Teams have 11 players each, while the All-Freshman Team has six members. Nominations were based solely on statistics accumulated during league play.
The three players named to the First Team marks the first time the Green Wave have had three players earn First Team honors since the 2007 season, when Sara Radosevic, Ksenija Vlaskovic and Bridget Wells were all named to the league's top team. In 2008, the team had five All-Conference USA athletes, but just two on the First Team.
The Green Wave led the First Team with their three selections.
Martone has had one of the best seasons of her already outstanding career. This season, Martone has led the Green Wave in kills (228) and kills per set (4.56) during C-USA play, while also posting 14 service aces, 135 digs and 37 total blocks (five solo). Martone has also led the team in C-USA play in points with 259.0 and points per set, averaging 5.18.
Just this past weekend, Martone had one of the best weekends of any Green Wave volleyballer this season, as she blasted her way to a .537 hitting percentage over seven sets in wins against Louisiana Tech and Middle Tennessee. She hit a career-high .545 with a match-high 14 kills against Louisiana Tech.
The award for Martone marks the fourth-consecutive season she has been honored by the league in the postseason. In 2010, Martone was the C-USA Freshman of the Year, while also earning All-Freshman Team honors before being named to the All-Conference USA Second Team during her sophomore and junior campaigns.
Martone becomes just the first player since Radosevic to earn postseason honors from the conference in four straight seasons.
Juric was not far behind Martone in most of the aforementioned offensive categories. The native of the Republic of Croatia burst onto the scene in 2013 for the Green Wave, and has been a large part of the success the team has had this season.
During her freshman year, Juric has posted 202 kills during league play, good for an average of 4.04 kills per set, both numbers second to Martone. Juric also notched six service aces, 114 digs and 16 blocks (two solo), as well as totaling 222.0 points for an average of 4.44 points per set.
Juric earned Conference USA Player of the Week honors on Oct. 7 after recording 42 kills in nine sets, six of which came in straight-set defeats of Charlotte and Marshall. Juric becomes the first Green Wave freshman to be named to earn First Team honors since Alicia Robertson was named to the First Team All-Metro Conference Team in 1991.
Juric is one of two freshmen on the All-Conference USA First Team, and they mark the fifth and sixth freshmen in league history to earn First Team honors.
Mandelbaum set records left and right during her senior season, and her inclusion on the All C-USA First Team is another one, as she becomes the first setter in Green Wave history to earn First Team All-Conference honors. Mandelbaum led the league in assists per set during league play, averaging 12.30 in 50 sets. Her 615 overall assists in league play rank third.
The Clovis, Calif., native has been a monster digging the ball, as well, as she has totaled 145 digs during league play, good for second on the team. Mandelbaum earned C-USA Setter of the Week honors twice this season.
She moved to second place in career assists during her senior season, and against Middle Tennessee on Sunday, she became just the 12th player in Green Wave history to record her 1,000th career dig.
"I think that with the type of season Cori, Mel and Tea are having, it's very deserving for them to be recognized amongst the best in the conference," said the director of Tulane Volleyball Sinisa Momic. "All three are playing exceptionally well and lead this team through many tough matches."
"Tea, being just a freshman, is also deserving to be on the All-Freshmen Team, as she has great potential and many more great things to accomplish in the future," Momic added.
On Wednesday, the league will announce the winners of the C-USA Player of the Year, Coach of the Year, Libero of the Year and Setter of the Year.
Tulane will have a first-round bye on Thursday at the Conference USA Championship in Murfreesboro, Tenn., and will play the winner of the match between UAB and Rice on Friday at 7pm CST. All matches of the tournament other than the championship match will be broadcast through the C-USA Digital Network at conferenceusa.com. The final game of the championship will be televised on the CBS Sports Network.
Current subscribers to the C-USA Digital Network can just click the "watch links" on the Volleyball Championship Central site to view the current match in progress. New and school-only subscribers will need to purchase a monthly pass to view all 10 tournament matches. A monthly subscription is $14.95, and an annual subscription is $119.95.
Fans can follow the Green Wave volleyball program on Twitter (GreenWaveVB) or on Facebook at facebook.com/GreenWaveVolleyball.