Volleyball: Tulane sweeps twice Friday at Bulldog Invitational
STARKVILLE, MISS. – Tulane volleyball stormed into its first tournament of the season, sweeping both Grambling State and Mississippi State at the Bulldog Invitational on Friday, Sept. 1 in Starkville, Miss. The Green Wave has swept three straight matches en route to five consecutive wins, as the squad improves to 5-1 overall, 0-0 American on the season.
Tulane, picking up where it left off against South Alabama, dominated the first set of the match against Grambling, 25-8. The Green Wave posted a team attack percentage of .444 in the first set, as freshman middle hitter Markenzie Benoit recorded three kills (1.000 attack percentage) and junior middle hitter Dayna Kern tallied five kills (.625 attack percentage).
The Green Wave’s roll from the first set was not slowed by Grambling, as Tulane proceeded to take the second and third sets, 25-22 and 25-16, respectively. Senior setter Justine Bowers led the team with a match-high 23 assists, while freshman outside hitter Lexie Douglas recorded a match-high 10 kills and team-high 10 digs.
Kern finished with a match-high .667 attack percentage, leading the Green Wave to an overall team attack percentage of .284. Sophomore libero Kaylie McHugh chipped in seven digs to go along with a match-high two service aces.
Tulane walked onto Mississippi State’s home court on Friday night and swept the match in convincing fashion (25-17, 25-17, 25-19). In front of a raucous crowd, the Green Wave took the first set behind sophomore right side hitter Alexis Silver’s two kills (.667 attack percentage), which paced the team’s overall first set team attack percentage of .259. Silver finished with a match-high .467 attack percentage.
The Green Wave was in control for the rest of the match, holding leads throughout the second and third sets without ever trailing. Bowers and freshman setter Jenna Ibieta combined for 30 assists, six more than Mississippi State’s 24 total assists. Kern finished with a match-high eight kills (.333 attack percentage), while McHugh recorded a match-high 19 digs.
“It’s a big win for us,” head coach Jim Barnes said. “That’s a good Mississippi State team we played. A big team that’s real physical. We did a great job. We were really smart, we had a great gameplan. The girls did a great job; you wouldn’t know we had four freshmen on the floor. They played like veterans. It’s a great win in an SEC house. I couldn’t be prouder.”
One match remains for the Green Wave at the Bulldog Invitational. Tulane takes on Stephen F. Austin at 1 p.m. tomorrow in Starkville.
Season ticket packages for the 2017 season are on sale now. Tickets may be purchased by calling 504-861-WAVE (9283), logging onto TulaneTix.com or visiting the ticket office at the James W. Wilson Jr. Center.
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