Green Wave earns five-set victory over UConn, extends winning streak to 11 volleyball matches

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NEW ORLEANS – Tulane volleyball defeated UConn in a five-set thriller (25-19, 25-13, 23-25, 17-25, 15-11) on Sunday at home, extending the team’s winning streak to 11 American Athletic Conference volleyball matches.

“It was a gritty win for us today,” head coach Jim Barnes said. “We played almost perfect in the first two sets and then UConn played very well to push us to set five. [Kaylie] McHugh turned the match around from the service line and we came alive in time to get the win. It was a big match for Makala [Heidelberg] and Lexie [Douglas] played well too.”

Freshman outside hitter Makala Heidelberg earned her 11th career double-double in Tulane’s win, tallying 10 kills while hitting .333 and earning 19 digs, while also adding four blocks.

Sophomore outside hitter Lexie Douglas led the Green Wave offensively, recording 13 kills while hitting .219. Junior right side hitter Erika Hansel and freshman outside hitter Yvette Burcescu also tallied double-digit kills in the match, each earning 10 while hitting .206 and .233, respectively.

Junior libero Kaylie McHugh was a strong force for Tulane on the defensive side of the court, recording a season-high 31 digs while also adding six assists and two service aces. Freshman middle hitter Kayla Dinkins led the team with seven total blocks while also hitting five kills.

The Green Wave came out strong at the start of the match, hitting .306 as a team in the first set while holding UConn to .051. Quick kills from Hansel, Douglas and senior middle hitter Dayna Kern earned Tulane a 4-1 lead early on, ultimately staying ahead for the remainder of set one to own a 1-0 match advantage. A 4-0 run from the Huskies closed the gap with a 16-14 score, forcing a Tulane timeout, but the Green Wave grabbed their own 4-0 run when they returned to the court, maintaining the upper hand until a kill from Hansel at set point finished the play.

Tulane dominated in the second set, hitting .303 while holding UConn to a -.077 hitting percentage. The Green Wave tallied six total team blocks, allowing only six kills of 39 Huskies attacks while forcing nine errors. The Olive and Blue gained six quick points for a 6-0 lead at the start, with another 7-1 run keeping the team on top with a 21-12 score. Back-to-back kills from Heidelberg finished it for Tulane and put the Green Wave ahead 2-0 in the match.

UConn came out fighting in the third set, with an even match from both teams resulting in 13 tied scores and five lead changes. The Huskies hit .302 in the set, while the visiting team’s defense held the Green Wave to .225 offensively. Tulane took a one-point lead with a 23-22 score after a close set from the start, but UConn ultimately regained control and grabbed two consecutive kills to force a fourth set with a 2-1 match score.

The Huskies defense remained strong in set four, with UConn holding Tulane to a team hitting percentage of .000 while its team hit .244. The Green Wave had an early lead in the set before UConn tied the score at 5-5, staying ahead for the remainder of play to tie the match and head to a fifth set.

UConn took an early 5-0 lead at the start of the final set but Tulane turned it around quickly with a 7-0 run to take the lead, with a great service ace from McHugh followed by a hard kill from Douglas getting the momentum going for the Green Wave. Tulane stayed ahead for the rest of the match, with a kill from Heidelberg solidifying the win and concluding the team’s 2-0 weekend at home.

The Green Wave prepare to hit the road for the last time this regular season, heading to Cincinnati for an 11 a.m. Friday match-up before facing ECU on Sunday at 1 p.m.
Follow Tulane volleyball on social media at @GreenWaveVB on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Follow Tulane Athletics on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram.

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