Beach volleyball faces early-season challenge at FSU Invitational

Grant Barnes, Senior Staff Reporter

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Courtesy of Tulane Athletics

Following a brief but successful preseason bout, Tulane beach volleyball will return to the sands for Florida State University’s FSU Invitational in Tallahassee, Florida.

With a few tough matches looming, the team hopes that this tournament will be just as successful as its preseason matchup against the University of Alabama-Birmingham Blazers. Tulane brought home a 4-1 score against UAB, winning all matches but the first and sweeping two. Tulane coach Wayne Holly attributed the Green Wave’s success to its persistence and drive.

“Our team played exceptionally well, and I’m very proud of our players,” Holly said. “We played our best volleyball of the fall today, and it’s a credit to the players who have worked through a challenging fall season to come together, refine their game and uphold the tradition of being consistently excellent.”

Maintaining this groove could be difficult in the upcoming tournament. The team’s opening match will be against No. 2 Florida State. FSU brings serious credentials to the table, as well as a drive for redemption. In its previous season, the Seminoles won a team-best 33 matchups en-route to a National Runner-Up title.

Courtesy of Tulane Athletics

The load will lighten a bit for Tulane later on the first day of play, as it takes on the University of Tampa Spartans. Tampa touts a decent 14-10 record in its previous campaign but went 0-1 against ranked opponents. The Wave should make a point to secure this win, as it will be its sole breather in a field of ranked opponents.

Next on the docket for Tulane is No. 10 California Polytechnic State University. The Green Wave faced Cal Poly early in its 2018 campaign, falling 4-1. This previous contest was highlighted by then-senior Madeline Mertz and then-sophomore Kaylie McHugh’s sweep of Cal Poly’s No. 1 pair. Tulane will surely miss this pair, but still has a decent shot to upset the highly-regarded Mustangs.

Things will only get more difficult for the Green Wave in its final duel of the tournament, facing in-state rival No. 6 Louisiana State University. LSU won both of its two matchups with Tulane last year, sweeping one by a score of 5-0. The Tigers always prove to be a challenge for the Wave, but Tulane will have this matchup as well an additional competition, offering the chance to finally topple the team in the coming season.

Tulane will open play at the FSU Invitational early Feb. 23 in Tallahassee, Florida. It will return to New Orleans shortly after, hosting Houston Baptist University on Feb. 26 at the White Sands Volleyball Courts.