UTM VOLLEYBALL FACES TOUGH TESTS AT UPCOMING DUNN HOSPITALITY INVITATIONAL
September 6, 2017
MARTIN, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee at Martin volleyball team looks to get back on track this weekend against stiff competition at the Dunn Hospitality Invitational hosted by the University of Evansville.
The Skyhawks (2-5) start their participation in the tournament on Friday, Sept. 8 when they take on UAB at 4:30 p.m. UT Martin is then slated to play a pair of matches on Saturday, Sept. 9, starting with a 10 a.m. matchup against Indiana before a 6:30 p.m. showdown against Evansville.
The last time that the Skyhawks were matched up with each of this weekend’s opponents, UT Martin came away with a victory. The Skyhawks defeated UAB by a 3-1 margin last season on the road and also defeated Indiana (3-2) in the only meeting between the two programs in 2009. UT Martin has not faced Evansville since 2013 but did generate a 3-2 home win in its last matchup against the Purple Aces.
The Skyhawks began last week with an impressive 3-2 win over Louisiana Tech before falling to Memphis (3-0), Little Rock (3-1) and Central Arkansas (3-0) in the UCA Invitational. Junior libero Brooke Gyori earned a spot on the all-tournament squad after racking up 80 digs (5.33 per set) last week. She was responsible for a career-best 29 digs against Louisiana Tech and added 24 digs in just four sets against Little Rock. UT Martin also received a significant contribution out of Megan Fair, who registered a team-high 50 kills (3.33 per set) and the second-most digs (40, 2.67 per set) on the team last week.
On the season, Jemima Idemudia and Fair share the Skyhawk lead in kills with 69 (2.76 per set). Idemudia leads the way with a .241 attack percentage and 20 blocks (0.80 per set) while Gyori (4.48 digs per set, fifth) and Kenzie Hinshaw (7.78 assists per set, seventh) each rank in the top-10 in the Ohio Valley Conference in their respective statistical categories.
UAB (3-5) comes into the weekend as winners of three of their last five matches as the only two setbacks were in four sets to OVC member Austin Peay and a five-set loss to Troy on Tuesday evening. Gabby Deshotel (.268 hitting percentage) and Haley Jared (.231) have slammed down 110 kills apiece while Kenley Adams’ 10.26 assists per set lead the way for the Blazer offense. Emily Martinez (3.59 digs per set) and Victoria Young (1.21 blocks per set) set the tone for UAB defensively, as the Blazers rank ninth nationally in total team blocks (73.5).
Indiana is one of 29 Division-I teams who are undefeated through the season’s first two weeks. The Hoosiers are 6-0 after three wins in their own Indiana Invitational and three more victories in Colonial Challenge hosted by George Washington. Indiana’s 15.10 kills per set ranks ninth in the nation as Kendall Beerman (3.76 per set) and Victoria Brisack (12.52 assists per set) kickstart a Hoosier offense that hits .272 as a team. Meaghan Koors and Deyshia Lofton lead the defensive attack for Indiana with 3.76 digs per set and 1.24 blocks per set, respectively.
Evansville (5-1) began the season with five straight wins before a 3-2 loss to OVC member Southeast Missouri last Saturday. The Purple Aces rank sixth nationally in service aces (51, 2.04 per set) and have been led early on by Rachel Tam’s 3.20 kills per set. Cassie Brooks registers a team-best 4.80 digs per set while Efricia Griffith turns away 1.04 blocks per set for Evansville, who has already equaled its season win total from a year ago.
Live stats for all three matches this weekend can be found at the link above.