Tulsa Volleyball Wins Five-Set Thriller in Houston

Sunday, September 30th 2012, 7:03 pm
By: News On 6

The Tulsa volleyball team, after a five-set victory at Houston on Friday, stormed back after a 2-1 deficit to defeat Rice 3-2 (24-26, 25-21, 22-25, 25-23, 15-10) Sunday, at the Tudor Fieldhouse.

The Golden Hurricane (12-7, 5-0 Conference USA) hit .228 (70-24-202) while holding the Owls (11-8, 4-1 C-USA) to a .170 (67-29-223) attack percentage.

"I'm very proud of this team," commented Head Coach Steven McRoberts. "Rice is a very good team and we feel fortunate to come away with a victory today. Our defense was huge today and to finish set four and five with 28 kills and only three errors was amazing."

Leading the Hurricane offense was senior outside hitter Tyler Henderson, who recorded 26 kills and hit .283.

Three Tulsa players earned double-doubles as junior outside hitter Kellie Culbertson tallied 15 kills while collecting a season-high 22 digs to earn her 12th double-double of the year. Senior outside hitter Diana Silva tied a career high with 24 digs and pitched in 11 kills, while senior setter Jordan Clampitt had 36 assists to lead the Tulsa offense and added 15 digs.

Senior libero Jessica Adams, the reigning C-USA Defensive Player of the Week recorded 29 digs to pace the TU defense.

"Kellie had another solid match for us, while Tyler continued to perform at a high level," McRoberts said. "Jess continued her unbelievable play on the back row. Diana had a great bounce back match and Carly Boatwright played great this weekend."

The first frame consisted of nine ties and four lead changes as TU had set point holding a 24-22 advantage over the Owls. Rice rallied scoring the next four points to win the stanza 26-24. Culbertson paced the Tulsa attack with five kills in the initial frame.

In the second set, Henderson recorded six kills to propel Tulsa to a 25-21 set victory. TU and Rice were tied at nine apiece before Tulsa went on a 7-0 run to make it a 16-9 contest.

Neither team hit well in the third frame as TU hit .040 while Rice held an attack percentage of .122. The Owls won the stanza 25-22.

Rice jumped out to a 17-12 lead in the fourth set, but Tulsa stormed back scoring 12 of the following 15 points to take a 24-20 lead. The Owls made it a 24-23 contest, but Henderson dashed Rice's hopes with her eighth kill of the set to win the frame for Tulsa 25-23. The Golden Hurricane hit .359 in the fourth, while the Owls had an attack clip of .250.

Tulsa won the fifth set 15-10 as it hit .579 en route to its second five-set victory in as many matches. Henderson recorded four kills and hit .500 in the final frame, while sophomore middle blocker Carly Boatwright and Silva pitched in two kills apiece.

Rice's Megan Murphy fell short of a triple double as the setter recorded nine digs and kills, while leading the Owl's offense with 52 assists.

"We did a much better job at the net than Friday night and I'm proud of our blockers for stepping up their play," McRoberts said. "It is huge for us to leave Houston still undefeated in conference play."

Tulsa will conclude its four game road swing when it faces Southern Miss at 7 p.m. on October 5 before rounding the trip out with a tilt against UCF on Sunday, October 7 at 12 p.m.