Nov. 29, 2009
NEW ORLEANS - The NCAA Tournament is becoming a familiar event for the Tulane volleyball program, and in the 2009 edition, the Green Wave will certainly face a familiar opponent. Earning an at-large bid to the dance for the program's second-straight NCAA Tournament appearance, the Green Wave will meet LSU for the third time this season, Friday, December 4 at 7:30 p.m. at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center in Baton Rouge. Tulane and LSU split the season series.
The Tigers (24-6), the SEC Champion, are the No. 15 national seed and will host the rubber match of the season.
"Making it two years is a row after never making it before, that's huge. It shows our program is constantly at the top of our conference, being considered for the tournament three years in a row," head coach Sinisa Momic said. "Everyone was really relieved when we saw our name up there. We never thought about this (season) as a `rebuilding year.' We never bought into that, and we knew we had a chance to get into the tournament and we did it. I'm very proud of my team."
Tulane has won three out of five against LSU dating back to 2003, with the two teams splitting the series this season. Tulane topped LSU on Sept. 11 at the Allstate Sugar Bowl Classic in Fogelman Arena, 3-1 (25-21,25-23,20-25,25-21). The Green Wave fell to LSU at the PMAC, 3-0 (25-22,25-16,25-21) on Sept. 5 in the Tiger Classic.
"We usually play well against LSU. In the last three years, I think we've beaten them...two times," Momic continued. "We played great against them here, when we beat them in four in September, but we also lost to them a week before that. They're definitely a high quality opponent. We're going there without stressing out over what's going to happen. We're just going over there to challenge them, and anything can happen."
The Green Wave finished the regular season at 18-9, after a 12-4 in Conference USA season. The number three seed in the C-USA Tournament, Tulane dropped SMU 3-1 in the quarterfinals before falling to Tulsa in the semifinals. Host Rice topped Tulsa in the final to earn C-USA's automatic bid.
Tulane posted three wins in eight matches against teams which made the 2009 NCAA Tournament field, with wins over LSU, Rice and Mountain West at-large New Mexico. The Green Wave fell to No. 10 national seed Nebraska, Big West champion Long Beach State, LSU, Rice and Pac-10 at-large Arizona.
Arizona (19-10) will also visit Baton Rouge, squaring off against Big XII at-large Texas A&M (18-10) on Friday at 5 p.m. The winners of the two first round contests will play Saturday at 7:30 for a right to advance to the Sweet 16.