UTM VOLLEYBALL PICKS UP FIRST WIN OF SEASON ON OPENING DAY OF C OF C INVITATIONAL
August 26, 2016
CHARLESTON, SC – The University of Tennessee at Martin volleyball team claimed a split to begin the 2016 season, as the Skyhawks fell to College of Charleston in three sets (22-25, 18-25, 16-25) before bouncing back to defeat Binghamton by a 3-1 margin (25-22, 25-22, 21-25, 25-18) at the CofC Invitational.
Madison Wessling led UT Martin with 24 kills on the day while Sarah Shaw and Jemima Idemudia each compiled 20 kills. Kelly Lean started off her Skyhawk career with 82 assists in the two matches while Idemudia (12 blocks) and Colleen Larson (25 digs) shored up the UT Martin defense today.
“We need to have better ball control and we need to see better court composure from our girls,” UT Martin second-year head coach Jaclynn Yocum said. “Fortunately, we did a nice job rebounding in the second match against Binghamton. I thought we found our groove in that match. We were able to control the tempo and execute our offensive strategy.”
UT Martin hit .257 with 61 kills in its nightcap matchup against the Bearcats. The Skyhawk offense seized control and clicked on all cylinders over the final three sets, posting a .320 attack percentage in that stretch.
The Skyhawks wrap up their participation in the CofC Invitational on Saturday, Aug. 27 when they take on South Carolina. First serve is set for 9 a.m. CST.
College of Charleston
Wessling reached team-highs in kills (10) and digs (eight) but UT Martin’s offensive attack could only generate an .038 attack percentage in a 3-0 loss to host College of Charleston.
The Skyhawks jumped out to an early 5-2 lead in the first set, helped in large part by the play of Idemudia (one kill, two blocks). College of Charleston followed with a 5-0 run before back-to-back kills by Shaw tilted the score back in UT Martin’s favor at 8-7. The Skyhawks expanded their lead to three points (12-9) but the Cougars scored 11 of the next 14 points. UT Martin would get within four points on two different occasions but College of Charleston rounded out the set with a 4-1 run.
Idemudia (four kills), Lean (11 assists) and Wessling (seven digs) guided the Skyhawks in the opening set.
UT Martin once again claimed an early advantage in the second set until the Cougars unreeled a 10-5 run. Wessling then took over, accounting for three of the team’s next four points to give the Skyhawks a 13-12 advantage. An assisted block by Shaw and Idemudia extended UT Martin’s lead out to three points and the margin stayed at three until the Cougars pieced together a 9-3 run to end the set.
Wessling had six kills, Lean registered nine assists and Idemudia made three blocks in the second set to lead UT Martin.
College of Charleston led by a 6-2 margin to begin the third set but the Skyhawks quickly closed the gap to one point after an Idemudia kill made the score 9-8. The Cougars responded with five of the next six points but a kill by Wessling immediately following a UT Martin timeout cut the Skyhawk deficit to 14-10. Hayley Gray and Reigelsperger would add two kills apiece down the stretch but ultimately the deficit was too large for UT Martin to overcome.
A balanced attack of a well-oiled offense propelled the Skyhawks to their first win of 2016 on the season’s opening day.
The two sides were evenly matched up in the early portion of the first set, as neither side could open up a lead larger than three points until Binghamton took a 12-9 advantage. A Shaw kill ignited a run of three consecutive points for UT Martin but the Bearcats would soon take a 20-15 lead. The Skyhawks then roared back to score the next eight points of the set, as five of those points would come via Binghamton attack errors. Kills by Reigelsperger and Shaw closed out the dramatic comeback and gave UT Martin the early momentum.
Shaw’s six kills and Lean’s 14 assists highlighted the offense but the Skyhawk defense stood out in the first set, as Larson (11) and Reigelsperger (10) combined for 21 of the team’s 36 digs.
A half-dozen different Skyhawks chipped in with kills through UT Martin’s first nine points of the second set. The Skyhawks used a 5-0 run – aided by two kills and a block from Shaw – to claim a 13-8 advantage before Binghamton chipped away to get within one point at 19-18. Lean and Wessling followed with kills on back-to-back possessions before two kills by Shaw and a Rachel Noffsinger service ace put the finishing touches on the set for UT Martin.
Lean handed out 15 assists in the second set alone, as Idemudia and Shaw each had five kills apiece to pace an offense that hit .286 with 17 kills in the set.
The Skyhawks were on the verge of a sweep before the Bearcats used a late run to force a fourth set. Binghamton held a 10-7 lead but Reigelsperger was the culprit of another UT Martin surge, as she slammed down three kills during a 6-1 run that provided the Skyhawks with a 16-13 lead. A kill by Shaw and consecutive Bearcat attack errors led to a 21-17 UT Martin advantage but Binghamton responded with seven of the last eight points to avoid a sweep.
UT Martin hit .300 in the third set, as Lean’s 11 assists and Wessling’s four kills ranked as team-highs in their respective categories.
Reigelsperger racked up back-to-back kills to result in the Skyhawks’ first lead of the fourth set before her service ace capped off a 4-0 run that resulted in an 8-5 UT Martin lead. The Bearcats got back within two points but Reigelsperger once again provided the spark. The junior out of Coldwater, Ohio accounted for three kills and a block during a 5-0 Skyhawk run that pushed UT Martin’s lead out to 18-11. Binghamton would not get any closer than five points the rest of the way as Shaw provided the final two kills of the match to give the Skyhawks their first victory of the 2016 campaign.
UT Martin posted a .368 attack percentage with 18 kills in the final set, led by Reigelsperger (six kills) and Lean (15 assists).