October 15, 2016

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MARTIN, Tenn. – One day after the University of Tennessee at Martin volleyball team posted one of its most efficient performances of the season, the Skyhawk offense struggled in a four-set loss against Ohio Valley Conference rival Belmont (19-25, 11-25, 28-26, 21-25) this afternoon.

UT Martin (6-17, 2-6 OVC) committed 27 attack errors today, hitting .068 for the match. Despite the miscues, the Skyhawks were ahead by as many as six points midway through the fourth set but UT Martin could not close it out to force a fifth set.

Macy Reigelsperger guided the Skyhawk offense with 11 kills today while Kelly Lean nearly had a double-double with 33 assists and nine digs. Colleen Larson compiled a match-high 19 digs while Madison Wessling (12 digs) and Jemima Idemudia (six kills, five solo) also paced UT Martin defensively.

An Alisha Erves service ace led off the match before Belmont (11-7, 5-3 OVC) scored five unanswered points. The Skyhawks kept chipping away until a Jamie Scherb service ace capped off a 4-0 run to even the score at 13-13. The Bruins reclaimed the lead and quickly reeled off four straight points to take a 21-16 advantage. UT Martin pulled back within four points (22-18) but Belmont managed to score three of the final four points of the set.

Lean was responsible for a team-high four digs for the Skyhawks in the opening set.

The early stages of the second set were tight, as kills by Hayley Gray, Reigelsperger and Idemudia led to a 4-4 tie. Belmont led 6-5 before going on a 13-2 run. Another Reigelsperger kill momentarily halted the Bruins’ momentum but ultimately UT Martin could not climb out of its early hole as Belmont ended the set on a 5-1 run.

The Skyhawks hit -.214 in the second set, committing 11 miscues with five kills in 28 swings.

UT Martin came out of the locker room fired up, outlasting Belmont in a third set that led to 14 ties and six lead changes. Reigelsperger began the set with two early kills to give the Skyhawks a 4-2 edge. An Erves kill padded UT Martin’s lead out to 9-5 before the Bruins went on an 8-1 run to go on top by a 13-10 margin. The Skyhawk deficit remained at three points until four unanswered points provided UT Martin with a 19-18 lead thanks to three consecutive Belmont attack errors. The Skyhawks had set point once while the Bruins had set point twice before UT Martin scored the final three points of the set, due in large part to Idemudia (kill, solo block).

Reigelsperger (five kills), Lean (14 assists) and Larson (nine digs) topped the Skyhawks in the third set.

As mentioned earlier, UT Martin led by a 16-10 margin in the fourth set before Belmont stormed back to take the set and end the match. A service ace by Scherb gave the Skyhawks a 4-2 lead and moments later, Reigelsperger swatted away a solo block to push UT Martin’s lead out to 10-7. An assisted block by Reigelsperger and Idemudia pushed the Skyhawk advantage out to six points and another solo block – this time by Idemudia – kept UT Martin’s lead at four points at 17-13. However, Belmont answered with five straight points to take a lead it would not relinquish the rest of the way. The Skyhawks stayed within striking distance late (23-21) but the Bruins closed out the match with back-to-back points.

UT Martin hit .231 as a team in the fourth set, piling up nine kills with only three errors in 26 attempts.

The Skyhawks go back on the road next weekend, as they travel to OVC rivals Morehead State (Oct. 21) and Eastern Kentucky (Oct. 22).

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