Laura Côté Sets Assists Mark; Tigers Ousted by Tulsa in Four
Oct. 19, 2008
MEMPHIS, Tenn. -
Tulsa (18-6; 5-4 C-USA) 25 25 25 25 Memphis (13-10; 4-5 C-USA) 22 27 23 20
With her 19th assist of the day, University of Memphis setter Laura Côté became Tiger volleyball's all-time assists leader. The senior setter put up a match-high 48 assists, but Memphis was unable to pull out victory, falling to Tulsa 3-1 in C-USA action on Sunday afternoon. The game was televised by CBS College Sports and will be air via tape delay on Tues., Oct. 21 at 8 p.m.
"First I have to give credit to Tulsa for coming out and playing a fantastic match," said Tiger head coach April Jauregui. "Ed's (Allen) done a great job with that program. Malorey Grove was digging up a ton of balls which made it difficult for us to put balls down. We're still putting things together and fighting in matches."
Côté, who has dished out over 1,400 assists in each of her three previous campaigns, surpassed Clare Dirksen's former mark of 5,653 assists--a record that stood for 19 years. Côté now has 5,683 assists for her career.
"I am honored to have had the opportunity to accomplish this milestone," said Côté. "This took a lot of hard work. I said (when I came to the University of Memphis) that I wanted to make history and this is a great accomplishment. I'm thankful to all of my teammates over my career that helped me reach this goal. I've been lucky to have some good hitters and passers in my career."
For the second-straight match, Tiger freshman middle blocker Carolyn Baker posted a team-high for Memphis, finishing with a match-high tying 14 kills. Freshman outside Kelsey Knoche provided the Tiger offense a lift off the bench, connecting for a career-high 11 kills. Right side hitter Rebekah Strickland added 10 kills and hit .348 to round out Memphis's top attackers.
"We had another strong performance from Carolyn Baker and Rebekah Strickland," stated the first-year head coach. "Great job to Kelsey Knoche. In really her second game of extended action, she came out and hit .300 and really helped our team when we needed it."
Memphis posted a 58-52 advantage in kills, a 56-49 lead in assists and also won the back line battle 70-66. However, The Tigers committed 14 more hitting errors than did Tulsa and the Golden Hurricane claimed a 15-8 win in blocking.
"Our key is to cut down on the amount of errors that we make," said Jauregui. "When we can eliminate those errors we can beat teams. When we can't, in our conference, you can't afford to give another team that many points. We had 31 attack swing errors and we have to eliminate those by being a little bit more aggressive and smart with what we're doing so we can terminate those plays. We'll go back to the drawing board and we'll keep fighting from here. We have good things to build on; we just have to work on eliminating errors."
The contest got off to a slow start for both teams, with neither club hitting above .100. The opener was a see-saw battle with 10 ties and five lead changes. Trailing 22-23, Memphis got a block from Underwood and Strickland for the final tie of the game. From there Tulsa got a kill and used a Memphis attack error for a 25-23 win.
It looked like the Tigers would take a two-set deficit into the break after Tulsa took a 20-12 lead late in the second period. Memphis then staged a furious rally ignited by one of Katlin Inglish's nine kills, followed by blocks by Baker and Strickland. Behind 22-16, the Tigers continued to push points on the strength of Lauren Trouy's serve. Strickland and Inglish connected on kills and Baker slammed two kills of her own and Memphis put together a 7-0 run to tie the contest at 22-all. With the score tied 25-25 reserve Knoche put down and kill and Strickland followed suit to send both teams into the locker room at 1-1.
Tulsa led for most of the way through the third set until Strickland struck for a kill and baker and Inglish made assisted blocks in a 3-0 rally that tied the game at 21-21. Tulsa scored on the next two serves to go ahead 23-21 and force a tiger timeout. That two-point spread would last till the final Tulsa kill. The Golden Hurricane blasted 18 kills in the third to take a 2-1 lead.
The fourth and final stanza saw Memphis break a 7-7 tie with consecutive kills from Inglish and Strickland. Tulsa then scored three of the next four points for a 10-10 tie. A kill by Côté made it 11-10 and represented the Tigers' final lead of the afternoon. From there, TU doubled up Memphis over the next 12 serves to take an 18-15 advantage. A four-point run by the Golden Hurricane put the Tigers behind 22-17 late. The U of M was unable to close the five-point gap in a 25-20 loss.
Hannah Stout led Tulsa with 14 kills. Jennifer Eichler and Beth Hodge downed 13 and 12 kills each. Hodge completed a double-double day with 12 digs. Setter Rachel Vukson also posted a double-double with 46 assists and 13 digs. Libero Malorey Grove made a team-high 18 digs. Stout finished with a match-high seven blocks.
The Tigers will now prepare for next week's C-USA slate that includes contests versus UCF, on Fri., Oct. 24 at 7 p.m., and Southern Miss on Sun., Oct. 26 at 1 p.m.