Volleyball Loses at Tulane 3-0
Nov. 9, 2008
NEW ORLEANS - Junior outside hitter Jennifer Eichler recorded a team-high 11 kills, but the University of Tulsa volleyball team fell 3-0 (19-25, 22-25, 22-25) to Conference USA foe Tulane Sunday afternoon at Fogelman Arena.
Tulsa (21-9, 8-7 C-USA) is now tied for fifth in the C-USA standings along with Memphis. TU holds the tiebreaker for seeding in the conference tournament because it defeated Memphis 3-1 on Oct. 19. Tulane, meanwhile, improves its record to 22-5 overall and 13-1 in league play, and is in first place in the conference standings.
Eichler hit a .333 attack percentage for the day, and junior middle hitter Julia Kenealy hit .400 with five kills against just one error in 10 attempts. Senior Beth Hodge recorded nine kills, while freshman setter Rachel Vukson tallied 30 assists, and senior libero Malorey Grove dug out 11 attacks. As a team, the Golden Hurricane hit a .240 attack percentage with 36 kills and 13 attack errors in 96 total attempts. Tulane hit a .348 attack percentage with 54 kills and 15 errors in 112 total attempts.
"Tulane is a very good team," said Tulsa head coach Ed Allen. "Offensively, they are extremely balanced across the net. If one kid is struggling or if we try to take something away, they have other kids who are able to execute. I thought they were extremely efficient in their side-out offense - somewhere between 60 and 70 percent in all three games. That allows them to develop momentum and continue to apply pressure to us. I thought there were a couple of mental mistakes that we made at critical times in sets two and three when both of them were in reach. We could have performed just a little bit better, but that is a talented team."
In the first set, Tulane jumped out to a 3-0 lead, and never really allowed Tulsa to climb back into the set. The Golden Hurricane trailed 6-1 when it took a timeout to regroup, and closed the score to 8-5 on Tulane attack errors and a kill by Kenealy. However, the Green Wave extended its lead to 13-7 before TU called its second timeout. With the score 21-12, Tulsa was able to score three straight points on a kill by Hodge, and a block then a kill by Eichler to close the score to 21-15. That was as close as the Hurricane came in the first set, as Tulane went on to win 25-19.
The second and third sets ended with identical 25-22 scores, and Tulsa was in position to win the second set. After Tulane scored two points to open the frame, the Golden Hurricane came back to take a 4-2 lead on a kill by sophomore outside hitter Emma Ridley, a service ace by freshman defensive specialist Thaise Vieira, a Tulane attack error and a kill by sophomore middle hitter Hannah Stout. Tulsa extended its lead to 13-8 on a kill by Stout, but Tulane closed the score to 14-12. The Golden Hurricane held the lead until the score was 20-18 in its favor, and Tulane made a run to take a 22-20 lead. Tulsa scored two more points, but the Green Wave pulled out the set 25-22.
The third set began similar to the first two, with Tulane taking a 2-0 lead, and then extending it to 5-1. Tulsa pulled to within one point at 6-5, but could not tie or take the lead until Kenealy and freshman outside hitter Kelsey Hancock blocked at Tulane attack to tie the score at 11 apiece. Tulane pulled ahead again, taking a lead as large as three points at 18-15, but the Hurricane again tied the score at 20-20 with a Kenealy service ace. However, Tulane scored five of the final seven points to win the set 25-22 and sweep the match.
"We eliminated some of the errors that we had in set one," Allen said of the way his team played in the final two sets, as opposed to the first set. "I also think we did a better job of ball control in sets two and three. Jen Eichler has done a great job all year long of carrying a significant load of our offense. We tried to mix things up, spread the floor and run the middle a little bit which allowed that spread to take place and give her a little better seam to work with out of it. For the most part, she was pretty effective."
Tulane head coach Liz Kritza recognized how tough the match was for her team, and how hard Tulsa played even in defeat, and what kind of team the Hurricane is.
"Tulsa is a very good team. They are better than their record shows," Kritza said. "They battled some injuries early on and when we played them earlier in the season at their place, one of their better players (Beth Hodge) was not playing. She played tonight and it made a clear difference to their team and the level of volleyball that they could play. We expected them to come in and put forth a much stronger performance than when we played them at their place. They pushed us to the limit today and we really did not get very many easy points today."
Tulsa returns to the Reynolds Center Sunday, Nov. 16 for its regular season finale and Senior Day for a match against SMU. CBS College Sports will televise the match on a tape-delay basis on Tuesday, Nov. 18 at 6 p.m. CT. Admission for all Golden Hurricane volleyball home matches is free. For all Tulsa volleyball news and information, visit www.TulsaHurricane.com.
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