COLUMBIA, S.C. – Tulane beach volleyball notched 20 wins for the second consecutive year and just the second time in program history on Saturday afternoon to wrap up the Palmetto Invitational in South Carolina, going 2-0 on the day with wins over Jacksonville State and UNC Wilmington. In their final regular-season tournament before conference championships next weekend, the Green Wave improved to 20-11 on the season and 4-10 against Coastal Collegiate Sports Association opponents.
“The players did a very good job today coming out and playing to two more wins and another important conference victory. We played with some new pairs that we expect will make our team stronger and inject some energy into our play. New partnerships have a way of creating energy and require us to become more aware of our own and our partner’s needs. We did a good job with both today.”
— Head coach Wayne Holly
TULANE 5, JACKSONVILLE STATE 0
The Green Wave kicked off day two of the Palmetto Invitational facing Jacksonville State for the third time this year, coming away with their third sweep of the Gamecocks in as many meetings.
Briana Correa and Hannah Holmes got Tulane off to a strong start on court four, holding the Gamecocks under ten points in both sets as the No. 4 pair swept their opposition on scores of 21-7 and 21-6. Christina McAfee and Sarah Strasner, Tulane’s No. 5 duo, also came away with a match sweep on identical scores of 21-12.
Tulane clinched the dual and its first win of the weekend on court two, as Madeline Mertz and Lan Nguyen defeated the Gamecocks in straight sets for the Green Wave’s third consecutive sweep of the day.
On court one, Tea Juric and Kaylie McHugh improved to 24-6 on the year with easy 21-14 and 21-13 decisions for Tulane’s fourth win of the day.
Despite dropping the first set, Tarin Mergener and Annie Shurtz completed the dual sweep on court three to give Tulane its 13th sweep of the year in a 5-0 victory over Jacksonville State.
TULANE 4, UNCW 1
Carrying momentum from the morning’s match, Tulane notched its second victory of the day to eclipse the 20-win plateau for the second consecutive season and the second time in program history. With a different look to the day’s lineup, the Green Wave closed out the Palmetto Invitational with a 4-1 win over conference foe UNC Wilmington.
Correa and Holmes, playing on court five in the afternoon match, notched Tulane’s first win of the dual with straight-set scores of 21-12 and 21-18. Moving up to the No. 4 spot, Strasner and Anna Chin then dropped a close first set 21-23 but bounced back in the next two to give Tulane a 2-0 lead over the Seahawks.
The Green Wave would seal its 20th victory of the season on a 2-1 decision on court three. Mertz and Mergener paired up for the first time this year, bouncing back from a first-set loss and taking the second and third on scores of 21-7 and 17-15.
Up 3-0 on the Seahawks, Nguyen and Shurtz on court two fell 1-2 to UNCW’s Tanna Aljoe and Sarah Kelly after taking set one 21-18.
McHugh and Juric then swept the Seahawks’ No. 1 pair, their second win of the day, to wrap up the weekend and give Tulane a 4-1 conference victory.
Tulane will head to Emerson, Georgia next Friday through Sunday for the second annual CCSA Conference Championships.
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