UTM VOLLEYBALL SPLITS FINAL DAY TO TAKE SECOND PLACE AT DUNN HOSPITALITY INVITATIONAL
September 9, 2017
EVANSVILLE, Ind. – For the second straight day, the University of Tennessee at Martin volleyball team put together an impressive performance as the Skyhawks split the final day of the Dunn Hospitality Invitational, falling 3-0 to undefeated Indiana (19-25, 21-25, 17-25) before bouncing back for a 3-1 victory over host Evansville (25-27, 25-18, 25-14, 25-22).
Today’s results meant that the Skyhawks (4-6) finished the two-day Dunn Hospitality Invitational as tournament runner-up after taking two of three decisions. UT Martin had previously defeated UAB by a 3-0 margin on Friday to open the tournament.
Following the conclusion of tonight’s match against Evansville, it was announced that Jemima Idemudia and Brooke Gyori were named to the all-tournament team. Idemudia tallied 31 kills (3.10 per set) on a .328 attack percentage while also swatting away 13 blocks (1.30 per set) while Gyori scooped up 38 digs (3.80 per set) and divvied out 10 assists in the tournament.
Idemudia paced the Skyhawks in kills in both matches today, slamming down 24 total kills with a .318 hitting percentage. Megan Fair also added 20 kills and 20 digs (including a double-double against Evansville) while Kenzie Hinishaw (37 assists) and Kelly Lean (35 assists) once again handled the duties of setter in UT Martin’s 6-2 offense.
Defensively, Gyori led the way with 25 digs while Lean provided 21 digs. Idemudia (eight), Hannah Phillips (seven) and Justine Walker (seven) posed an intimidating presence at the net, combining for 22 blocks on the day.
The Skyhawks round out the nonconference portion of their schedule next weekend at the Memphis Invitational. UT Martin will take on Nicholls and Louisiana-Monroe on Friday, Sept. 15 before matching up against host Memphis on Saturday, Sept. 16.
Idemudia led the Skyhawks with 10 kills as UT Martin traded blows with the undefeated Hoosiers before falling by a 3-0 margin.
The Skyhawks scored three of the first four points in the opening set, thanks in large part to service aces from Hinshaw and Fair. Moments later, Fair generated back-to-back kills to extend UT Martin’s lead to 9-5 but Indiana soon tied the score at 10-all. The Hoosiers took their first lead of the match at 15-14 and opened up a four-point lead before a Hinshaw kill closed the gap to 22-19. However, Indiana was able to piece together the final three points of the set, capping off a .516 performance (17 kills, one error in 31 attempts).
UT Martin accumulated a .310 attack percentage in the first set, led by Fair’s four kills in six attempts.
The second set was tight throughout, as six ties and three lead changes took place. Both teams swapped points early before the Skyhawks nabbed a 9-6 advantage after Phillips posted a pair of kills and an assisted block. Idemudia chipped in back-to-back kills and Hinshaw dropped a service ace to push UT Martin’s advantage to 12-7. The Skyhawks maintained their lead until the Hoosiers tied the score at 14-14. UT Martin briefly reclaimed the upper hand but Indiana used a 4-0 run to lead by as many as six points late on its way to taking a 2-0 lead in the match.
Idemudia (five kills), Hayley Gray (four kills) and Gyori (six digs) led the Skyhawks in the second stanza.
The Hoosiers began the third set with four consecutive points, eventually leading by a 6-2 margin until back-to-back kills by Gray and Jamie Rys closed the UT Martin gap to just two points. Fair and Phillips compiled kills on back-to-back possessions but Indiana accounted for six of the next seven points. The Skyhawks trailed by as many as 11 points but kept plugging away, eventually pulling within seven points after a Rys service ace. However, UT Martin’s potential comeback bid came a little too late as the Hoosiers closed out the win.
Gray (three) and Phillips (three) combined for a .500 attack percentage on 10 swings for the Skyhawks in the third set.
The resilient Skyhawks bounced back from a tough first set to take a four-set decision in the nightcap over the host Purple Aces.
The opening set included eight tie scores and six lead changes, as Evansville raced out to a 3-0 lead before UT Martin powered through with eight unanswered points. During the run, Idemudia and Gray joined forces for three assisted blocks while also combining for three kills. Gray later added back-to-back kills to result in an 11-5 advantage for the Skyhawks but the Purple Aces went on an 11-4 run to go on top by a single point at 16-15. UT Martin answered quickly to go ahead 23-20 but Evansville ended the set on a 7-2 run to shock the Skyhawks and take a 1-0 lead in the match.
Idemudia’s four kills and Fair’s six digs were team-highs for UT Martin in the first set.
Each of the first six points of the second set were traded back-and-forth by the two squads, as no team opened up a lead of more than two points until the Purple Aces went ahead by a 12-9 margin. The Skyhawk deficit grew to four points at 15-11 but from that point forward, UT Martin dialed up 14 of the final 17 points of the set as six different Skyhawks generated a kill during the lengthy run. UT Martin took a 17-16 lead and didn’t look back, as the comeback was completed with a kill by Gray off an assist from Gyori.
The Skyhawks committed only four attack errors in the second set, hitting .256 with 14 kills as a team.
Evansville began the third set with a 4-2 lead but UT Martin quickly took advantage of five Purple Ace attack errors to go on top by a 9-6 margin. Idemudia kills accounted for two straight Skyhawk points as UT Martin opened up a 13-8 advantage. Evansville slowly crept back into contention, trimming the Skyhawk lead to 16-14 but the trio of Phillips, Fair and Idemudia was too much for the Purple Aces to handle. Those three provided seven kills during a 9-0 run to end the set, giving UT Martin its second straight set victory.
The Skyhawks did it all in the third set, as the offense shined for a .441 attack percentage (18 kills, three errors in 34 attempts) while UT Martin’s vaunted defense scooped up 23 digs.
The momentum kept rolling for the Skyhawks to start the fourth set, as UT Martin posted a 5-0 lead right out of the gate. The Skyhawk lead ballooned to 8-3 before Evansville was able to close within three points at 9-6. UT Martin then unreeled four straight points and led by as many as seven (17-10) before the Purple Aces mounted a comeback. Evansville went on an 11-3 run and took an ensuing 21-20 lead but once again, the Skyhawks saved their best for last. UT Martin posted five of the final six points, as an assisted block from Phillips and Walker sealed the win for the Skyhawks.
Fair managed four of UT Martin’s 12 kills in the final set as the Skyhawks came away with another impressive nonconference victory.