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Tulsa Volleyball Erases a 2-0 deficit to defeat UAB in C-USA opener

Culbertson and El Houssine records 20-plus kills and 20-plus digs each in a 3-2 comeback win over UAB in C-USA opener
Culbertson and El Houssine records 20-plus kills and 20-plus digs each in a 3-2 comeback win over UAB in C-USA opener
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Sept. 29, 2013

Box Score

Box Score vs. UAB Get Acrobat Reader

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Outside hitters Kellie Culbertson and Valerie El Houssine recorded more than 20 kills and 20 digs apiece, as the University of Tulsa volleyball team came back from a 2-0 deficit to defeat UAB (28-30, 23-25, 25-12, 25-22, 17-15) on Sunday afternoon at Bartow Arena in the Conference USA opener.

"It's always good to start 1-0 in conference and this is a big win for us," TU head coach Steven McRoberts said. "UAB played really well and they deserve a lot of credit. We had to earn this win because nothing was easy. This was a total team win."

Culbertson recorded 20 kills and 23 digs for her 12th double-double of the season. The Long Beach, Calif., native has recorded a double-double in seven of her last eight matches. This is the second time this season that the senior has recorded 20-plus kills and 20-plus digs in a match as she recorded 20 kills and 26 digs against LIU Brooklyn on Sept. 20.

The junior El Houssine recorded a career-high 20 kills and added 25 digs for her ninth double-double of the season. The Eghezee, Belgium native had a .346 hitting percentage.

Culbertson and El Houssine become the first teammates to record at least 20 kills and 20 digs in the same match as far back as records since 2003.

Junior setter Bailey Clampitt recorded a career-high 19 digs and added 41 assists for her ninth double-double of the season, while freshman setter Genesis Viera added 21 assists and 11 digs for her fourth double-double of the season.

Freshman libero Brooke Berryhill recorded a career-high 29 digs. Berryhill has recorded 25+ digs in four of her last five matches.

Freshman outside hitter Erica Bohannon recorded 15 kills and a .333 hitting percentage. Senior middle blocker Miriele Gobbo added nine kills and a team-high .533 hitting percentage.

As a team, Tulsa recorded 125 digs, the second most in school history. The Golden Hurricane recorded 72 digs in the final three sets and four players recorded at least 19 digs.

"One hundred and twenty-five digs is amazing," McRoberts said. "Our defense really stepped it up after the second set."

UAB was led by Bethanie Thomas with 22 kills, Becca Howard with 56 assists and Rachel Fairbanks with 32 digs. Thomas added 12 digs, while Howard added 21 digs for a double-double. Sam Skinner recorded 19 kills, Kiriana Hirini added 15 kills and Sara Richell recorded 10 kills. Ally Slaughter added 13 digs, while Mariah McCallum recorded 15 digs.

The Hurricane (12-4, 1-0 C-USA) had a 15-8 lead in the first set, but UAB (12-6, 1-1 C-USA) came back to tie the set at 23. The Blazers went on to win the set to take an early 1-0 lead in the match.

UAB had a 20-13 lead in the second stanza, but TU fought back scoring eight of the next 12 points to pull within three points, 24-21. The Hurricane scored the next two points to pull within one, but the Blazers scored the final point of the set to take a 2-0 lead heading into the intermission.

With the score tied at five in the third frame, the Golden Hurricane outscored UAB 19-5 to take a 24-10 lead. UAB scored two points before a Nicole Newton kill that would give the set to TU and cut UAB's lead 2-1.

TU scored four the first five points in the fourth set, but UAB came back to score four of the next five points to tie it at five. Neither team would have a lead of more than three points during the rest of the set. With the score tied at 21, TU scored four of the next five points to win the set and even the match at two.

The Hurricane scored eight of the first 10 points in the fifth frame, but UAB came back to tie it at 12. Facing match point, TU scored the next two points to tie the set at 14. With the score tied at 15, Culbertson's back-to-back kill gave TU the win.

"We had a lot of chances in the first set to win and didn't get it done" McRoberts said. "The second set was back-and-forth and UAB made clutch points at the end. After the break, we just started eliminating errors and we held on at the end after being up 10-3 in the fifth set."

The Golden Hurricane opens its C-USA home campaign on Friday at 7 p.m. against Rice and plays North Texas on Sunday at 1 p.m.

For all Tulsa volleyball news and information, visit www.TulsaHurricane.com. Follow Tulsa Athletics on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/TulsaHurricane and Facebook at www.facebook.com/TulsaHurricane. Follow Tulsa Volleyball on Twitter (www.twitter.com/TulsaVolleyball) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/TulsaVolleyball).