Tulane finishes Runner-Ups in National Invitational Volleyball Championship

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AMES, Iowa – The Tulane volleyball team fell to Iowa State (21-25, 28-30, 16-25) in the final round of the National Invitational Volleyball Championship (NIVC), ending the Green Wave’s record-breaking season.

“We didn’t have our best match and Iowa State played well at home to win,” head coach Jim Barnes said. “I’m very proud of each player and my staff for all they have given to our program. It will be a season to always remember. For the future, we will use all of these experiences to be even better next year and I am grateful for everyone’s support.”

Junior libero Kaylie McHugh and senior middle hitter Dayna Kern each earned spots on the NIVC All-Tournament Team. McHugh totaled 97 digs in the five postseason matches while also adding four service aces while Kern totaled 53 kills and 19 blocks.

The team finished 2018 with 29 overall wins, for only the third time in program history, and 18 wins at home for the first time since 1987.

An 11-match winning streak in American Athletic Conference play sent the Green Wave on a successful run, earning a spot in postseason competition for the first time since 2009. Tulane is the only team in AAC history to have made it to the NIVC finals and the first team in the conference to have ever played for a postseason championship.

Breaking multiple individual and team records at both the conference and program levels in its successful run, Tulane’s young team is just getting started and looks forward to similar success in the 2019 season.

Freshman outside hitter Yvette Burcescu led the Green Wave’s offense with eight kills on Tuesday night, followed by junior right side hitter Erika Hansel with seven and freshman outside hitter Makala Heidelberg and sophomore outside hitter Lexie Douglas each adding five.

Junior libero Kaylie McHugh notched one service ace in each set for a total of three, also adding 13 digs for a strong defensive effort. Heidelberg also recorded double-digit digs, totaling 11 in three sets. Senior middle hitter Dayna Kern, freshman middle hitter Kayla Dinkins and Douglas each earned two blocks in the championship match.

Iowa state grabbed an early lead to start off the match, ultimately staying ahead to finish it out and take the first set. Douglas and Burcescu led the Green Wave offensively, each recording three kills of Tulane’s total of 15 in the first set of action. A service ace from McHugh made it a two-point game, with Tulane trailing 14-16, but the team was never able to take the lead, eventually falling 21-25.

The second set marked a hard fight all the way until the end, with the teams posting 20 total tied scores. The Green Wave shot out to an early 9-5 lead, but a 5-1 run from the Cyclones ultimately tied the score at 10. Even scores at almost every remaining point resulted in an extension of the set, with the teams tied again at 28 before two points from Iowa State closed it out to put the home team ahead 2-0 in the match.

Burcescu continued with her strong offensive play in the third set, totaling three kills while hitting .750. ISU got ahead early with a quick 7-3 score and would keep its lead for the remainder of the match, ending it in three sets with a final 25-16 score.

Article Courtesy of Tulane Sports Information Department

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