Tulane volleyball ends with senior night victory

Mark Keplinger, Sports Editor

Tulane University volleyball ended the season with a victory on senior night, but declined to compete in postseason play. Following a mixed beginning of November, the Green Wave split their last four games with two wins and two losses. Tulane ends the season with an 18-14 overall record and an 11-9 conference record. The Olive and Blue finished sixth-best in the American Athletic Conference.

On Nov. 19, the team traveled to Dallas to take on the SMU Mustangs. SMU trotted all over Tulane with a 3-0 win, 25-11, 25-21, 25-19. The Mustangs led in every statistical category and prevented any Tulane hitter from reaching double digit kills. The Green Wave also committed 16 errors, including eight on the final set. The Mustang’s kill percentage was more than double that of Tulane’s, with SMU hitting .331 compared to Tulane’s .150.

Mackenzie Martin and Michelle Urquhart led the way with nine kills each, while Taylor Henigsman finished the night with 27 assists. Lexie Douglas contributed with 14 digs as well.

Two days later, the team traveled to Tennessee for their final road game of the year, when they faced off against the Memphis Tigers. Tulane mauled the Tigers in three sets, 25-22, 25-18, 25-21. Tulane visibly looked much improved, although the mistakes were still present in the first set when the team committed eight errors.

Kayla Dinkins, who had a poor game against SMU, rebounded nicely by contributing 11 kills. Urquhart once again led the team in kills, finishing the play 13 times. Henigsman had 23 assists, and Chelsea Harvey chipped in 13 assists of her own. Defensively, Sophia Ervanian had 14 digs, while Urquhart had nine.

Tulane returned home on Nov. 24, facing AAC champions, University of Central Florida. The Knights swept the sets 3-0, 25-20, 25-18, 27-25. Tulane fought hard, but this Knights team is special, even ending the year on a 16-game winning streak.

Amber Olson ran the show for UCF with a monstrous 42 assists. McKenna Melville had a game-leading 19 kills against the Green Wave. For Tulane, both Henigsman and Harvey ran the show, with Henigsman having 18 assists, and Harvey having 16. Douglas led Tulane with 14 kills. 

On Nov. 26, Tulane played its final game of the season against the South Florida Bulls. The Green Wave won in four sets, 25-20, 25-27, 25-23, 25-21. University of South Florida committed 27 errors, and Tulane had eight aces en route to victory.

Henigsman once again ran the show with 44 assists. Anna Davis had six blocks to go with her 12 kills. Ervanian had 25 digs over the course of the night.

Tulane will not compete in postseason competition this year despite a winning record. According to communications with head coach Jim Barnes, the team was offered a bid to play in the Women’s National Invitational Volleyball Championship, but turned it down.

Tulane honored their six seniors after the game for their contribution to the program: Douglas, Dinkins, Henigsman, Yvette Burescu, Makala Heidelburg and Danyelle Williams. 

Looking to next season, the Green Wave will certainly miss the contributions of their seniors. Players such as Anna Davis and Michelle Urquhart will have to fill the void left by Douglas, Dinkins and Burescu. 

Filling Henigsman’s spot in the center of the court for the Green Wave will be Chelsea Harvey. She has already shown her immense talent and will look to take the next step in being the facilitator of the offense. Sophia Ervanian will continue to anchor the backline as libero.

Tulane had a winning season, but will look to take the next step in competing for an AAC title. The Green Wave defended home court well, but will need to improve on the road and at neutral sites.

This article has been corrected.

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