UTM VOLLEYBALL COMPETES THROUGHOUT BUT DROPS FOUR-SET DECISION AT SIUE
November 5, 2016
EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – The University of Tennessee at Martin volleyball team battled the second place team in the Ohio Valley Conference today before falling by a 3-1 margin (16-25, 27-25, 17-25, 18-25) at SIUE.
For the second straight day, the Skyhawks (8-21, 4-10 OVC) were guided offensively by Jemima Idemudia, who tied a match-high with 14 kills. She committed just one attack error for a .351 hitting percentage while also chipping in five blocks for UT Martin.
Kelly Lean became just the seventh setter in school history to hand out 1,000 assists in a single season after she registered 45 assists today. Macy Reigelsperger (11 kills), Colleen Larson (match-high 25 digs) and Madison Wessling (10 kills) also helped guide the Skyhawks this afternoon.
SIUE (19-6, 12-2 OVC) began the first set on an 8-1 run but UT Martin scored six of the next 10 points to close within five points (12-7). The Cougars pushed their lead out to 19-11 before a 5-2 Skyhawk run, keyed by three kills and a service ace by Idemudia. After clawing back to get within five points once again, SIUE was able to end the set with four unanswered points to claim the early 1-0 lead.
Idemudia (five) and Wessling (four) combined for nine of UT Martin’s 10 kills while Larson was responsible for seven digs in the opening set.
The Skyhawks fell behind in the second set but a lengthy run midway through willed UT Martin to the win. The Cougars scored seven of the first 10 points but back-to-back kills by Idemudia and Wessling would make the score 8-6. Four unanswered points by SIUE doubled up the Skyhawks at 12-6 but moments later, UT Martin pushed through for a 12-2 spurt that resulted in a 19-15 Skyhawk lead. Hayley Gray and Jemima Idemudia generated three kills apiece during the critical run. The Cougars came back with a 5-1 run to even the set at 20-20, which was the first of six ties from that point until the end of the set. UT Martin briefly trailed by a 23-22 margin but was able to secure the set victory thanks to three straight points via Alisha Erves kills and a set-ending service ace by Jamie Scherb.
Lean handed out 14 assists while Gray (five) was the kills leader for the Skyhawks. Once again, Larson piled up seven digs to pace the Skyhawk offense.
UT Martin led 4-3 to start off the third set and held an 8-7 advantage until the Cougars reeled off six unanswered points as part of a 9-1 run. That run allowed SIUE to go on top by a 16-9 margin and despite kills from five different Skyhawks from that point forward, UT Martin would not get any closer than six points for the remainder of the set.
Larson and Wessling shared the team lead with six digs apiece for the Skyhawks while Lean accumulated 10 assists in the third set.
The Skyhawks overcame an early deficit to get back within striking distance in the fourth set but ultimately couldn’t extend the match. SIUE accounted for the first four points of the set but back-to-back Reigelsperger kills pulled UT Martin within two points. The Cougars would soon score seven of nine points during one stretch to take a 13-6 lead but Sarah Shaw soon caught fire and almost singlehandedly got the Skyhawks back in the match. The sophomore from Collierville, Tenn. dialed up five kills in the span of seven points to help UT Martin pull within two points at 18-16. However, the Cougars concluded the set on a 7-2 run to wrap up the match.
Shaw’s six kills in nine swings and Lean’s 12 assists paced the Skyhawk offense while Larson’s five digs led the defense.
UT Martin will now look to make its final push into the upcoming OVC Tournament during the final week of the regular season. The Skyhawk journey opens on the road at Southeast Missouri on Tuesday, Nov. 8 before hosting Jacksonville State on Friday, Nov. 11. Senior Night festivities will take place before the Jacksonville State match will start at 7:30 p.m. at Skyhawk Fieldhouse.