Green Wave beach volleyball concludes successful season at CCSA Championship


Photo courtesy Tulane Athletics

Senior Madeline Mertz looks on in a match. Mertz is only the second Green Wave beach volleyball player to have 100 career wins.

Following its successful 2017-18 campaign, No. 18 Tulane beach volleyball closed out its season in stride at this past weekend’s Coastal Collegiate Sports Association Championship near Atlanta. While the team was not able to advance to the tournament’s semifinals, it was able to topple two opponents and give two highly-ranked programs quite the scare.

The Green Wave began its tournament run Friday against the No. 9 University of South Carolina Gamecocks. Tulane’s freshman dropped two straight sets early, but quickly recuperated to tie the match. Unfortunately, this lead would not hold.

Tulane’s No. 1 duo, senior Madeline Mertz and sophomore Kaylie McHugh, fell in two straight sets, giving South Carolina its second point of the matchup. While junior Anna Chin and freshman Lauren Orlich held strong and managed to regain the tie once again, the Green Wave was unable to capture a third winning point in the final sets, falling to the Gamecocks by a score of 3-2.

The Wave looked to rebound from this early loss later Friday afternoon against No. 10 Florida International University. This was sadly not the result of the matchup, as it played out to be nearly identical to its early loss.

Tulane dropped its first match to the Panthers in straight sets. The Wave looked to be in trouble in its second match as well, but Mertz and McHugh held strong. The pair took total control in the second set and slipped past in the third, capturing their first match of the tournament. This win happened to be Mertz’s 100th career victory, being only the second athlete in program history to do so.

While the Wave was able to take one more match win over the Panthers behind freshmen Ashley Delgado and Addison Hermstad, it fell in its other two. This led the No. 10 Panthers to a 3-2 victory over Tulane, wrapping up the first day of competition.

The Green Wave was obviously unsatisfied with the results of day one, as it began day two by dominating the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Tulane took down the Blazers behind two early straight-set victories and two late victories, ultimately taking the win by a score of 4-1.

The momentum from Tulane’s win over UAB easily carried over to its fourth and final dual, with the seventh-seeded College of Charleston. Tulane once again captured its first two points in straight-sets, dropping Charleston’s No. 5 and No. 1 pairs.

Tulane closed out the matchup with two three-set wins behind Chin, Orlich, senior Lan Nguyen and sophomore Tarin Mergener. This gave the Wave its second and final win of the tournament.

With the 2017-18 season now in the rear-view mirror, Coach Wayne Holly must undoubtedly be thrilled with his team’s success. Tulane boasted a 23-14 overall record and ended the season with a No. 18 national ranking, having challenged highly-ranked teams in South Carolina, Florida Atlantic University and Grand Canyon University. While several key members of the team will be departing as seniors, it has a very bright future in the coming 2019 season behind its many returning players.

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