SKYHAWK VOLLEYBALL OUTLASTS EASTERN ILLINOIS FOR BIG FIVE-SET ROAD VICTORY
November 4, 2016
CHARLESTON, Ill. – The University of Tennessee at Martin volleyball team saw several individuals step up for career-best matches this evening as the Skyhawks came away with a 3-2 Ohio Valley Conference triumph at Eastern Illinois (25-21, 23-25, 25-22, 26-28, 17-15).
Jemima Idemudia secured a career-high 22 kills while swatting away a match-high seven blocks for UT Martin, who improves to 8-20 (4-9 OVC). Madison Wessling slammed down a season-best 18 kills to go along with 12 digs for her 12th career double-double while Macy Reigelsperger also delivered 10 kills. Noffsinger and Sarah Shaw also each dialed up nine kills apiece while combining for just three attack errors for UT Martin, who hit .210 with 83 kills in the match that featured 39 tie scores and 20 lead changes.
Kelly Lean was responsible for her fourth double-double of the season tonight, handing out 56 assists while scooping up a career-best 17 digs. Colleen Larson also came up with a big performance tonight, as she tallied career-highs in digs (35) and assists (11) for the first double-double of her career. Jamie Scherb pitched in with a season-best 20 digs while Macy Catlett added 11 digs for a Skyhawk defensive attack that produced 116 digs and 10 blocks.
UT Martin took advantage of five Panther errors in the early portion of the first set, taking a 7-6 lead. Eastern Illinois would soon go on a 7-1 run to go on top by a 16-10 margin but the Skyhawks came right back with a lengthy run of their own. Idemudia accounted for three kills and an assisted block during a 10-1 UT Martin surge that made the score 20-17 in favor of the Skyhawks. The Panthers closed within two points as late as 22-20 but a Wessling kill ignited a 3-1 UT Martin run to close out the set.
Wessling (five) and Idemudia (four) joined forces for nine of the Skyhawks’ 13 kills while Lean (10 assists) and Larson (seven digs) also helped UT Martin take the early 1-0 advantage.
The Skyhawks carried their momentum into the second set, reeling off the first six and 10 of the first 11 points. Reigelsperger was on fire during that stretch, recording four kills during UT Martin’s early run. The Skyhawk lead sat at 13-4 before Eastern Illinois scored five unanswered points but a kill by Wessling kept UT Martin’s lead at six points. However, the Panthers kept clawing back and eventually used a 4-0 spurt to take a 23-21 lead. Noffsinger pulled the Skyhawks back within a point with a kill to make the score 24-23 but Eastern Illinois was able to tie the match at 1-all.
Reigelsperger and Idemudia each had five kills while Lean (12 assists) and Scherb (nine digs) had big individual efforts for UT Martin in the second set.
The Panthers raced out to a 4-2 lead to begin the third set but the Skyhawk duo of Idemudia and Wessling each accumulated two kills and an assisted block during a 6-0 run that gave UT Martin a 9-5 advantage. Eastern Illinois answered with a 5-2 run but the Skyhawks were able to keep the lead until the Panthers claimed a 17-16 advantage. Lean and Noffsinger then combined for each of UT Martin’s next five points, as back-to-back service aces by Lean pushed the Skyhawks ahead by a 21-19 margin. Eastern Illinois evened the score at 21-all but Hannah Phillips was responsible for two kills during UT Martin’s 4-1 run to wrap up the set.
The Skyhawks had 18 kills during the third set, as Lean divvied out 14 assists and Larson secured 10 digs to pace UT Martin.
After Eastern Illinois scored the first two points of the fourth set, the Skyhawks took a 5-3 lead – aided by two kills and an assisted block from Idemudia. The Panthers would go on top by a 9-8 margin but moments later, back-to-back kills by Phillips and Noffsinger tied the score at 12-12. A brief Eastern Illinois run resulted in an 18-14 Skyhawk deficit but UT Martin responded by scoring eight of the next 11 points to take a 22-21 lead. A Wessling kill provided the Skyhawks with match point (25-24) but the Panthers came back to score four of the last five points to force a decisive fifth set.
Idemudia hit .438 with seven kills against zero errors in the fourth set while Lean had 14 assists and seven digs. Larson also scooped up seven digs for the Skyhawks, who had 30 digs as a team.
UT Martin began the final set on a 5-1 run as the Panthers committed four attack errors during that stretch. A kill by Idemudia extended the Skyhawk lead out to 6-2 but Eastern Illinois scored four consecutive points to tie the score. Wessling had three kills in the span of four points for UT Martin as the Skyhawks went back on top by an 11-8 margin. A Reigelsperger kill set up match point for UT Martin at 14-13 but Eastern Illinois came back to tie the score at 14-all and 15-all. However, Idemudia and Wessling slammed the door on a potential Panther comeback with two straight kills to give the Skyhawks the victory.
The senior duo of Wessling (four kills) and Larson (six digs) helped will UT Martin to the win in the fifth set.
The Skyhawks continue their three-match road swing at SIUE on Saturday, Nov. 5. First serve is scheduled for 2 p.m.