Dec. 1, 2008
NEW ORLEANS - Spirits were soaring, high fives were aplenty and the overall focus was at an all-time high as the Tulane University volleyball team went through a spirited two-hour practice on Monday morning in Fogelman Arena in preparation for its first-ever trip to the NCAA Tournament.
The Green Wave spent last week knowing they were in the NCAAs for the first time in school history, but did not know who or where they would be playing. The team found out their postseason destination and possible opponents last night, however, and Tulane was able to turn its attention to facing off against Tennessee Tech on Friday, Dec. 5, in Dayton, Ohio.
"We had productive practice today," Tulane head volleyball coach Liz Kritza said. "Usually, Monday is an off day for us but last week's training cycle was a little different and we set things up for this week in anticipation of playing as early as Thursday. With last night's news, everyone is not only very excited but also a little bit more focused because we now have a direction to focus all of our positive energy.
"The team is ready and willing to do whatever it takes for us to continue on with our successful season. I was pleased with the performance for the majority of practice today, and I think that we will be ready to go come Friday night."
Tulane (27-5) will take on the Golden Eagles (19-12) at 4 p.m. (CST) to open the first round at the Frericks Center while host Dayton (21-12) will take on Western Michigan (26-6) at 6:30 p.m. The winner of those two matches will play on Saturday, Dec. 6, at 5 p.m. for the right to advance to the Sweet 16.
On Monday, the Green Wave went through their usual gamut of drills before getting to the heart of the matter. Kritza had her team run through its rotations and went as far as to mix and match personnel in different positions to create different matchups.
After focusing on their side-out offense for a portion of the morning, the Green Wave finished their day with a first-to-25 intrasquad scrimmage. The scrimmage was a back-and-forth battle between the usual starters and the key reserves, and the reserved held an advantage for most of the session. The starters, however, battled back to tie the match and pulled away late to win 25-23. The team will continue to practice on Tuesday and Wednesday before leaving for Dayton on Thursday at 4:30 a.m.
"The team will be ready to play. The coaches will be ready with the strategies and ready to make adjustments come match time. It really is an exciting time for us. It is our first trip to `The Big Dance' and we want to make sure we put forth the best showing possible. Everyone is giving a maximum effort to make sure that happens."
Tickets to the 2008 NCAA first- and second-round matches in Dayton, Ohio, will be available through the Dayton Athletics Ticket Office beginning at 2 p.m. on Dec. 2 by calling (937) 229-4433. All-Session tickets are $10 for adults, $6 for students and seniors, and $4 for children aged 3-12. Single-Session tickets cost $6 for adults, $5 for students and seniors and $4 for children aged 3-12. Children two and under are admitted for free.