Tulsa Hosts Three Top-20 Teams in Golden Hurricane Classic
Sept. 12, 2012
TULSA, Okla. -
The University of Tulsa volleyball squad, after a second-place showing at the Northern Colorado Classic, will host the Golden Hurricane Classic September 13-15 at the Donald W. Reynolds Center. The three-day tournament marks the first home games of the season for the Golden Hurricane and is the start of a six-game home stand. Tulsa will face Kansas State on Thursday, September 13 at 7 p.m., Dayton on Friday, September 14 at 7 p.m. and Minnesota on Saturday, September 15 at 2 p.m. The six-game home stand marks the longest for TU since 2009 when Tulsa enjoyed a seven game home stand.
The tournament features three teams that are ranked in the top-20 in the AVCA Coaches Poll in Minnesota, Kansas State and Dayton. The Golden Gophers enter the weekend ranked 10th, the Wildcats are 19th and the Flyers, after being ranked 10th last week, hold the 20th spot in the poll. All the games during the tournament and all TU regular season contests are free admission.
"It's not only the best tournament that Tulsa has ever hosted, it's arguably the best tournament going on in the nation this week," commented Head Coach Steven McRoberts. "We have our work cut out for us. We are the only team in our tournament that is not ranked in the top-25, so it's a good opportunity for us to use as a measuring stick. Each one of these teams poses a different problem for us. I think it's another step for us as we prepare to get ready for conference and hopefully as we are looking to be prepared for when the NCAA Tournament comes around in December. These are the type of teams that we will see in the tournament."
Tulsa enters the tournament with a 7-4 ledger. Nationally, the Hurricane is ranked sixth in kills per set with 14.98, and is 10th in regards to assists per frame with 13.79. As a team, Tulsa is hitting .205 while holding opponents to a .190 clip.
"With the schedule that we have had, I'm very encouraged that our kills and assists are as high as they are," McRoberts stated. What we would like to see as coaches, and I know our players are the same way, is that our hitting percentage improves. We have taken some swings that we wish we could have back in some situations. I feel like those things will be corrected as the season goes on."
Leading the Hurricane charge is senior outside hitter Tyler Henderson, who leads the nation in kills per set with 5.50. Henderson is also ranked second in points per set with 6.00, and has tallied more than 20 kills in six of TU's 11 matches this year. Junior outside hitter Kellie Culbertson ranks second on the squad in kills with 2.88 per set. She also is second in digs per set with 3.55, and ranks 29th in the nation in service aces with 0.50 per frame. Senior libero Jessica Adams paces the squad in digs with 4.74 digs per frame, while fellow senior Jordan Clampitt averages 9.35 assists per set to lead the squad.
Kansas State is off to a school best start of 9-0 and has swept eight of its nine foes this season. K-State is ranked 19th in the latest AVCA poll. The Wildcats are hitting .173 as a team and average 14.48 kills per set to rank 23rd in the nation. K-State is one of the best blocking teams in the nation as they average 2.93 blocks per frame to rank 14th in the NCAA.
Dayton enters the Classic with a 7-2 record and a ranking of 20th in this week's AVCA poll. The Flyers soared as high as No. 10 in last week's poll after opening the campaign with two wins over ranked opponents. The Flyers also have one of the best offenses in the nation as they are ranked 24th in both kills (14.38) and hitting (.275).
Minnesota holds a 7-1 record heading into the weekend as Minnesota split a series with then-No. 2 Texas in Austin last weekend. The Golden Gophers are ranked 10th in the AVCA poll this week, and hold the highest hitting percentage in the NCAA with a .355 clip. Minnesota also ranks third in the country in kills with a 15.38 per set average through Sunday's matches.
After the tournament, Tulsa opens its conference slate with three home matches next weekend. The Hurricane open the season on Wednesday, September 19 as SMU comes to town for a 7 p.m. contest at the Reynolds Center. Before the game, the 2011 Conference USA Champions banner will be unfurled. Tulsa will face Marshall on Friday, September 21 in a 7 p.m. contest and East Carolina on Sunday, September 23 in a 2 p.m. affair.
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).
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