University of Memphis volleyball will travel to Tulane Friday and Houston Sunday to begin the American Athletic Conference play. The Tigers lost this past weekend at home to Southeast Missouri to end their historic streak at 11. Head coach Sean Burdette spoke with the media about the loss and things to improve on.
“We needed to be better in our serve receive and out-of-system game,” Burdette said. “This will be a good building block for us, a chance for us to dig in and learn some things and make adjustments.”
Memphis’ first opponent this weekend is Tulane. The Green Wave started the season red-hot by winning 10 out of the 13 games. They are currently on a two-game winning streak after knocking off Louisiana State University and Southern Mississippi.
Tulane players to keep an eye on are junior outside-hitter Lexie Douglas and sophomore middle-hitter Kayla Dinkins. Douglas has 132 kills, 18 service aces and 26 blocks this season. She leads the team in kills and aces.
Dinkins has 108 kills with 67 blocks to lead the team in that category. She was named in the AAC Weekly Honor Roll for her efforts over the weekend and will look to keep that momentum against Memphis.
After the New Orleans game Friday, Memphis will travel to Texas to play the Houston Cougars, a team that is struggling. The Cougars have a record of 6-9 to start the year. They have not won a home game so far this season.
Memphis looks to continue the trend by adding another home loss to the Cougars’ record. Houston has two 0-4 streaks as well so they will look to turn the ship against the Tigers.
Houston players to watch for are freshman outside-hitter Abbie Jackson and senior outside/right-side hitter Megan Duncan. Jackson lead the team with 208 kills. Duncan is second on the team with 129 kills, 11 assists and 9 service aces this season.
Memphis will now have to move past their 11-0 start and will have to look at the upcoming schedule with a clean slate. Their season tournaments are over, and the real challenges begin against AAC foes. Of course, they would have liked to go undefeated in that span, but they came up short.
One player that stood out last weekend was freshman outside-hitter Gigi Crescenzo. She had set a new career-high with 16 kills in the last game but played great defense throughout the entire tournament. Crescenzo was the spar every time the team would give away points off errors.
Junior right side-hitter Hannah Flowers is continuing to earn her stripes. She joined Tulane’s Dinkins on the AAC-Weekly Honor Roll team for her play in the Beale Street Challenge. Flowers had 42 kills, seven aces, eight digs and six blocks in the tournament. The junior leads the conference in aces (30) and is ranked among the league leaders in hitting percentage and kills.
Memphis will try to restart the winning streak and start the conference playoff on the right foot. The Tulane game will begin at 7 p.m., and the Houston game will be at 1 p.m.