Green Wave volleyball starts conference play with consecutive victories

Mark Keplinger, Sports Editor

Tulane enters a huddle before the third set against Tulsa (Mark Keplinger)

Tulane University Green Wave volleyball began American Athletic Conference play with two victories against Wichita State University and the University of Tulsa

Tulane started the season brightly notching a 7-2 record, before cooling off with losses against Missouri State University, Sam Houston State University and Texas Tech University. The team entered conference play with a 7-5 record.

The Olive and Blue started conference play against Wichita State at the Fertitta Center at the University of Houston on Sept. 24. After losing the first set 18-25, the Green Wave bounced back, winning the second set 25-20. The Shockers controlled the third set, leading at one point 14-20. However, the Green Wave rallied to win the set 25-23 much to the shock of Wichita State. Tulane finished the comeback with a 25-21 set four win, which also won them the match.

Two days later on Sept. 26, the Green Wave returned to the Avron B. Fogelman Arena at Devlin Fieldhouse for the first time since Hurricane Ida to face the Golden Hurricanes of Tulsa. Tulane outclassed Tulsa by winning all three sets in convincing fashion. 

The Green Wave won the first two sets by a score of 25-14. In the third set, Tulsa led early before the Green Wave tied the set at 13. Then, senior middle hitter Kayla Dinkins spiked the ball with a ferocious authority right into the heart of Tulsa’s defense. A demoralized Golden Hurricanes team quickly fell apart, and Tulane secured the third set 25-17.

Tulane’s dominance in these two games were powered by the offensive dynamism of Anna Davis, Lexie Douglas and Yvette Burcescu. Davis in particular looked dangerous everytime she went up to spike the ball. She led the Green Wave in kills in both games this weekend. Defensively, Dinkins led the team in blocks for both games. However, it was the assists provided by senior setter Taylor Henigsman that propelled Tulane to success. Against both the Shockers and Golden Hurricanes, Henigsman provided 38 assists

The chemistry between the setter and her teammates was clear to see, especially with Davis. Countless times against Tulsa, Davis slipped behind Henigsman to the outside in a move that Tulsa could not provide an answer for.

Crucially, the Green Wave avoided unnecessary errors in both games this weekend. Against Wichita State, the Green Wave committed 16 errors including six on the first set alone. When playing Tulsa, Tulane reduced the errors to just eight.

Tulane volleyball continues conference play with two more games this week. The Olive and Blue will welcome the University of Houston Cougars to New Orleans on Sept. 29, before traveling to play the Temple University Owls in Philadelphia.