Hurricane holds off UAB to advance to second round
BY MIKE MOGUIN World Correspondent
Sunday, November 18, 2012
11/18/12 at 5:50 AM
Tulsa rallied in two sets and had to hold off a UAB comeback attempt in another as it swept the Blazers, 3-0 (25-21, 25-21, 25-20), Saturday in the second round of the Conference USA Volleyball Championship at the Reynolds Center.
Seniors Tyler Henderson and Jessica Adams, who made the All-Conference USA First Team last week, produced high numbers respectively in kills and digs. Henderson, who was also named Player of the Year last week, got 17 kills for the Golden Hurricane (23-9) and Adams, who earned Libero of the Year, made 28 digs. Senior Jordan Clampitt led the teams in assists with 26.
Ally Slaughter made nine kills for UAB (20-14). Rachel Fairbanks made 20 digs and Alison Woods got 20 assists.
"I'm just so proud of the girls," Tulsa coach Steven McRoberts said. "I felt like we fought through what most people term 'ugly volleyball' at times in our game. But it looks like we finished with 86 digs in three sets. Jessie had a tremendous game. Jess has been so good for us all year, not only digging the ball, but passing the ball and (I'm) proud that she had the type of game that she did today."
Tulsa found itself down in the first set 18-11 as UAB was making kills or getting points off Hurricane mistakes.
McRoberts said that was when his team changed the momentum.
"UAB was doing a really good job on us defensively and doing a really good job of playing low-error volleyball, and then the switch kind of flipped for us," McRoberts said. "We won a couple of long rallies. One thing we talked about was trying to toughen up our serves a little bit. That's one thing we pride ourselves on is our serve-and-pass game, and I felt like we started serving a little bit tougher. ..."
TU answered with a flurry of six straight points, which included a pair of kills from junior Kellie Culbertson. An attack error by the Blazers' Kate Morrell put TU up 22-21.
TU got its next two points off of UAB attack errors.
A service ace from senior Diana Silva clinched set one for TU, 25-21.
"It was harder for them to get the ball to their (middle blockers) who were having a lot of success against us," McRoberts said.
Tulsa controlled the second set, surging to a 20-9 lead. But the UAB would not go down quietly. A 12-4 run brought the Blazers to within 24-21.
But after a TU timeout, Henderson swatted the ball over the net with the ball landing barely inbounds in UAB's end of the court, getting the kill and final point needed for the win.
"UAB is a really good team," Adams said. "We had to fight today. I know we won in three, but it was a battle from point one. I thought our blockers did a really good job of their positioning and it made it easier for the back row to get in the right positions and make those digs."
TU got the first point of the third set, but was often behind, yet no more than five points.
It would rally and move ahead 21-20 as Henderson got her 16th kill of the match. She would get her last kill, followed by an attack error from UAB's Sam Serley that clinched it for Tulsa, 25-20, as well as the last set.
TU will meet UCF, which beat Houston in the other semifinal game, at 1 p.m. Sunday.
Original Print Headline: Tulsa holds off UAB to advance
C-USA volleyball championship
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