Tulane volleyball begins homestretch with mixed results

Mark Keplinger, Sports Editor

With the end of the season in sight, Tulane women’s volleyball opened November with two wins and two losses. The Green Wave have four more games remaining in the fall season, with the final two games at home at the Avron B. Fogelman Arena in the Devlin Fieldhouse.

Following a mixed October, the Green Wave entered November hoping for a good run of form to end the fall season. They began the homestretch of the campaign in Oklahoma when they faced the Tulsa Golden Hurricane on Nov. 5. Tulane won the match 3-0: 26-24, 25-19, 25-19 in a season sweep of Tulsa. 

Setter Taylor Henigsman was instrumental once again, providing 31 assists. Kayla Dinkins had a team-best 10 kills. However, Tulane benefitted from Tulsa’s poor play, as the Golden Hurricane committed 24 errors, including a staggering 13 in set two alone.

Two days later, the team traveled to Kansas to take on the Wichita State Shockers. The Green Wave kept every set close, but lost 3-0: 22-25, 23-25, 24-26. The Shockers led every statistical category and prevented any Green Wave hitter from reaching double digits in kills. Wichita State also had seven aces compared to Tulane’s two. 

The Green Wave hoped to rebound at home against the Cincinnati Bearcats on Nov. 12, but ultimately fell in 3-1: 24-26, 23-25, 25-23, 20-25. Once again, Tulane kept every set close but could not find a way to break through. Despite the loss, the Green Wave had positive performances from several players. Freshman setter Chelsea Harvey provided 45 assists, while Dinkins, Lexie Douglas and Michelle Urquhart led the way offensively with 13, 12 and 14 kills respectively. 

On Nov. 14, the Olive and Blue ended their skid with a victory over the East Carolina Pirates at the Devlin Fieldhouse. Tulane won 3-1: 25-19, 29-27, 21-25, 25-23. The trio of Urquhart, Douglas and Dinkins was potent once again, with Urquhart leading the way with 17 kills and Douglas not far behind with 16. Henigsman once again ran the show from the middle of the court, providing 35 assists. Defensively, libero Sophia Ervanian was immense, digging out 23 balls.

Tulane volleyball now has a record of 16-12, with a conference record of 9-7. The Green Wave have defended their home court well, winning seven out of 10 matches in the Devlin Fieldhouse. They have struggled more on the road, losing six out of their 11 on opposition courts. Currently, the Green Wave are sixth in the American Athletic Conference standings.

The Green Wave will finish out the fall season with four games against good and bad teams. On Nov. 19, Tulane will travel to Dallas to face the SMU Mustangs, the fifth best team in the AAC this season. On Nov. 21, the Green Wave will play their final road game of the season against the Memphis Tigers, who currently sit in eighth in AAC standings. The Tigers are 12-16 overall on the season.

The Olive and Blue will finish the season with two home games against two Florida schools. On Nov. 24, the Central Florida Knights will come to Uptown New Orleans. The Knights are the best team in the AAC, losing just once in the conference and six times overall. Tulane finishes the season against a weak Southern Florida Bulls squad in the Devlin Fieldhouse. In stark contrast to their in-state rivals, the Bulls are the worst team in the AAC, winning only once in the conference and five times overall in a season to forget.