Volleyball Earns First-Ever NCAA Bid with 3-2 Win over UAB
Nov. 18, 2007
Huntington, W. Va. - The University of Tulsa volleyball team received 49 kills from senior Fabiola Nepomuceno and freshman Emma Ridley to post a thrilling 3-2 (30-27, 24-30, 20-30, 30-22, 15-12) victory over UAB in the Conference USA Championship match. A national televised audience on CSTV witnessed Nepomuceno post her seventh 20+ kill performance, while Ridley recorded a career best 22 kills.
"With six freshman coming into the season, it would be an understatement to say this has exceeded our expectations," said TU head coach Ed Allen. "This is such a huge accomplishment, especially with four of those freshmen playing significant time. I really thought Nicole, Emma and Hannah were huge tonight for a match as important as this."
Senior Julia Silva recorded her 31st double-double of the year with 57 assists and 17 digs. Freshman Hannah Stout recorded her first career double-double with 10 kills and 10 blocks for the Hurricane as well. Junior Malorey Grove also recorded a career-high 38 digs to lead five Hurricane players with double-figures in digs. In addition to Grove and Silva, freshman Nicole Boyle posted 16 digs while junior Kelsey Wood and freshman Jessie Ayers recorded 12 and 11 digs apiece.
UAB actually out hit TU, 74-71 in kills and in hitting percentage .190-.171. Tulsa recorded two more digs than the Blazers, 104-102 in addition to out blocking UAB 14.5-13.0.
"We have just found a way to win this season, it has actually become our new motto" said Allen. "We were out hit against Marshall last night, but we found a way to win. It was a tremendous team effort," said Allen. "We did a great job coming back after the Marshall match. There were points both yesterday and today that we had some lapses in ball control and struggled defensively, but we fought through it. We just knew that if we were able to get to game five, we would be in good shape. To win the regular-season crown last year for the program's first conference title and then turn around this year and win the tournament, I don't think I could be prouder of this team. It is definitely a great step for us."
Silva and Nepomuceno added another honor to their lists of accomplishments this year. Earlier in the week, both players earned spots on the All-C-USA First Team. Both players also earned spots on the all-tournament team, with Silva also earning Most Valuable Player honors.
"This is just a very special moment for us, to win today and beat Marshall on their home floor means a lot," Silva said. "Being picked fifth in the preseason and finishing fourth overall with as many freshmen as we have is a great accomplishment. This is very special for all of us."
The Hurricane will now have to wait until Sunday, Nov. 25th to find out where its next match will be. The selection show can be seen on ESPNU at 7 p.m. (CST). The first round of matches will be Nov. 29th and 30th.
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