Dec. 10, 2013
LEXINGTON, Ky. - Tulane placed three volleyball players on the American Volleyball Coaches Association All-Southwest Region team as seniors Mel Mandelbaum and Cori Martone earned first-team honors, while freshman Tea Juric joined them as an honorable mention honoree.
AVCA member coaches voted for the All-Region Teams. Voting coaches could not vote for their own players, and in order for players to be selected, their coaches had to have participated in the voting. The AVCA's mission is to advance the sport of volleyball and its coaches.
The AVCA has ten total regions, and each region encompasses approximately 35 teams. Each regional squad was selected not only on the individual's season statistics, but also statistics accumulated against regionally-ranked teams and nationally ranked teams.
Tulane's volleyball squad went 28-4 on the season, dropping the Conference USA Championship match to UTSA in four sets, keeping the Green Wave out of the NCAA Regionals. However, the season was by far one of the best for the Green Wave in recent memory, thanks in part to the success of the three AVCA honorees. Tulane played five matches against regionally-ranked squads - two against UTSA, two against Tulsa and one against Middle Tennessee - and two games against a nationally-ranked squad in Tulsa. The Green Wave was 3-2 against the regionally-ranked teams, and they swept the two matches they played against Tulsa this year.
The three Tulane AVCA All-Region team members mark the first time the Green Wave have had three players honored in one season since 2008, when Jen Linder, Sara Radosevic and Bridget Wells all earned First-Team Midwest honors while Visnja Djurdjevic was named to the honorable mention team. Tulane had placed someone on the AVCA All-Region team every year from 2005-09, but haven't had a member since then until now.
"Our player's recognition from our conference and now from the region is only confirming that we had a great season as a team, and also had some memorable performances from individual players," stated the director of Tulane volleyball Sinisa Momic. "Cori, Mel and Tea had standout seasons and it's nice that they are recognized for it."
Martone, who earned First-Team All-Conference USA honors, posted 388 kills for an average of 3.77 kills per set, while hitting .271 and adding 265 digs, 2.57 digs per set, 17 service aces, 73 total blocks (six solo) and 444.5 points. Martone capped out her senior campaign by helping the senior class double their win total in just one year, as the Green Wave managed to win just 28 matches from 2010-12.
Against regionally-ranked opponents, Martone blasted her way to 72 kills in five sets, while chipping in 62 digs and 11 total blocks (one solo).
Mandelbaum earned Tulane's first Setter of the Year individual award from C-USA in addition to being named to the AVCA All-Southwest Region team. She also became the first setter in Tulane history to be named to the All-C-USA First Team. Mandelbaum ranked tenth in the NCAA in assists per set with an average of 11.7, totaling 1,332 assists on the season for the sixth-best single-season total in school history. She moved to second place during the year on the career assists list at Tulane, as she tallied 3,684 assists for her illustrious career.
The Clovis, Calif., native also posted 23 service aces, 274 digs and 30 total blocks (one solo) during the 2013 campaign. Against the regionally-ranked opponents, Mandelbaum managed 240 assists, five service aces, 13 kills, 53 digs and two block assists.
Both Mandelbaum and Martone were named to the Conference USA All-Tournament Team in late November.
Juric was the C-USA Freshman of the Year, and she became just the fifth freshman in league history to earn All-C-USA First Team honors. Juric led the Green Wave in kills (446), kills per set (3.98), points (489.0) and points per set (4.37) while ranking second on the team in service aces (24) and digs (285). Juric also hit .277 on the campaign.
In the five matches against regionally-ranked opponents, Juric led the Green Wave in kills (82), kills per set (4.32), points (88.0) and points per set (4.32), while ranking fourth in digs (48) and tying for fourth in service aces (one).
With the inclusion of Martone, Mandelbaum and Juric to the 2013 AVCA All-Southwest Region team, Tulane has now had 19 players named to the AVCA teams over the years.
The AVCA will announce their All-America teams on Wednesday, Dec. 18.
Fans can follow the Green Wave volleyball program on Twitter (GreenWaveVB) or on Facebook at facebook.com/GreenWaveVolleyball.