October 14, 2017

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee at Martin volleyball squad concluded a four-match road swing on a high note today, dispatching the Tennessee State Tigers in four sets (25-21, 25-22, 23-25, 25-20) in Ohio Valley Conference action.

Today’s win snapped a four-match skid for the Skyhawks and gave UT Martin its most single-season victories (10) in the Jaclynn Yocum-Wilson Era. The Skyhawks are now 4-4 at the midway point of the OVC season.

The UT Martin offense came alive today, as the trio of Megan Fair (15), Jemima Idemudia (12) and Hannah Phillips (12) combined for 39 kills on a .279 hitting percentage. The Skyhawk setter duo of Kenzie Hinshaw (22 assists, 10 digs) and Kelly Lean (20 assists, 10 digs) each recorded a double-double while helping the UT Martin offense run smoothly.

Defensively, Brooke Gyori notched 27 digs today – just two off her career-high of 29 set against Louisiana Tech on Aug. 31. Hayley Gray also swatted a match-high six blocks while Justine Walker (five blocks) and Idemudia (four blocks) also set the tone for the Skyhawk defense.

Back-to-back assisted blocks provided UT Martin with its first lead of the match at 4-3 in the opening set. Phillips soon added a pair of kills but an extended Tennessee State run saw the Skyhawks trail by a 16-12 margin. UT Martin followed with nine of the next 12 points, as a Gyori service ace opened up a two-point advantage (21-19) for the Skyhawks. The Tigers evened the score with consecutive kills but Idemudia helped UT Martin rally, as she had three kills during the Skyhawks’ 4-0 run to end the set.

Phillips had four kills with zero errors in seven swings while Gyori compiled nine digs in the opening stanza.

Four different UT Martin players accounted for the first four points of the second set as the Skyhawks raced out to a 9-2 lead. At one point during the opening surge, Fair was responsible for four straight kills as UT Martin opened up its big lead. After Tennessee State closed its gap to 15-12, Gray (kill) and Lean (service ace) responded with quick points to keep the Tigers at bay. The Skyhawks were ahead by a 22-15 margin but Tennessee State reeled off a 7-0 run to tie the score at 22-22. UT Martin quickly put an end to the run and tallied the final three points of the set to go ahead 2-0 in the match.

The duo of Fair and Idemudia combined for eight kills with only two miscues to guide the Skyhawks to the second-set victory.

UT Martin at one point scored 13 unanswered points in the third set but could not hold a 20-11 lead as the Tigers forced a fourth set. The Skyhawks trailed by an 11-7 margin before their lengthy 13-0 run, as UT Martin tallied five points via kill, three points off blocks, three points from attack errors and two points via service aces on its way to the 20-11 advantage. However, Tennessee State piled up the next six points as part of a 14-3 run to conclude the third set.

Hinshaw was the Skyhawks’ defensive star in the third set, as she accounted for eight of the team’s 28 digs.

The fourth set also featured several long runs before UT Martin walked away with the win. The Skyhawks used an early 8-0 run to go on top, aided by a pair of Lean service aces and two Rachel Noffsinger kills. The Tigers then scored five straight points but moments later, Walker slammed down back-to-back rally killers to help UT Martin claim a 16-10 edge. The Skyhawks soon built up a 24-13 lead but Tennessee State kept coming, breaking off a 7-0 run to make the score 24-20 before a Phillips kill ended the Tigers’ comeback hopes.

Fair (six kills) and Gyori (nine digs) helped UT Martin put the finishing touches on the win with strong fourth-set performances.

After nearly three weeks on the road, the Skyhawks finally return back home for two OVC matches next weekend. UT Martin hosts Eastern Kentucky on Oct. 20 and Morehead State on Oct. 21 at Skyhawk Fieldhouse.

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