October 27, 2017

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JACKSONVILLE, Ala. – For the second match in a row, the University of Tennessee at Martin volleyball team claimed the first two sets before falling victim to a rapid comeback as the Jacksonville State Gamecocks eked out a 3-2 win (20-25, 19-25, 25-20, 25-18, 15-11) this evening.

Kenzie Hinshaw (23 assists, career-best 18 digs) and Megan Fair (12 kills, 15 digs) both corralled double-doubles for the Skyhawks (11-14, 5-7 Ohio Valley Conference). Justine Walker tallied a career-high 11 kills while Hannah Phillips (11 kills) and Kelly Lean (17 assists) also helped guide UT Martin’s offensive attack.

Defensively, Brooke Gyori was responsible for a match-high 23 digs while Jamie Rys also added 11 scoops. Walker and Jemima Idemudia each accounted for a team-high six blocks for the Skyhawks.

Idemudia began the match with back-to-back kills as UT Martin soon posted an 8-5 advantage in the opening set. The Gamecocks briefly reclaimed the lead at 12-11 before the match was tied at 16-all. The Skyhawks followed with a 7-1 run, as Fair dialed up a pair of kills and the duo of Phillips and Noffsinger added two assisted blocks. Jacksonville State would close within four points at 23-19 and 24-20 but Phillips ended the set with a kill to give UT Martin a 1-0 boost in the match.

The Skyhawk duo of Idemudia and Phillips each generated four kills with zero combined errors to help UT Martin cruise in the first set.

The second set began with a pair of runs, as the Gamecocks scored the first four points before the Skyhawks rallied for a 5-0 run. Jacksonville State opened up a 10-7 advantage but another 5-0 spurt for UT Martin – aided by two kills and an assisted block by Phillips – opened up a 12-10 Skyhawk lead. The Gamecocks reclaimed the lead at 16-15 but UT Martin secured 10 of the final 13 points. Idemudia provided two kills, an assisted block and a service ace during the Skyhawks’ final push that gave them a 2-0 edge in the match.

UT Martin’s defense flied high in the third stanza, as Gyori almost had half (nine) of the Skyhawks’ 20 digs in the set.

Jacksonville State never trailed in the third set, scoring the first four points as part of a 7-1 run to begin the stanza. Fair was responsible for a kill and a solo block during a 6-1 UT Martin run that pulled the Skyhawk deficit to 8-7. The Gamecocks led by a 17-13 margin but a service error and two straight kills by Fair and Walker once again trimmed UT Martin’s deficit to one point at 17-16. Jacksonville State posted the next four points but two Walker kills bookended a 4-0 Skyhawk run to cut the Gamecock lead to 21-20. However, Jacksonville State managed to score the last four points of the set.

Hinshaw was UT Martin’s leader in the third set, divvying out team-highs of five assists and seven digs.

The Gamecocks led 5-3 to start off the fourth set but the Skyhawks accounted for five of the following six points to go on top by an 8-6 margin. Jacksonville State responded with a 10-4 run to take a 16-12 advantage but UT Martin climbed back with three consecutive points – clawing back within a single point at 16-15. However, the Gamecocks were able to reel off three straight points as part of a 9-3 surge to wrap up the fourth set and force a winner-take-all fifth set.

Fair and Hinshaw each scooped up a team-highs six digs apiece in the fourth set for the Skyhawks.

UT Martin held the early edge in the decisive fifth set as Jacksonville State began play with an attack error. Unfortunately, that would be the only lead the Skyhawks would hold in the final set, as Jacksonville State scored five of the next six points. After the Gamecocks led by a 12-6 margin, UT Martin did fight back to trim the Jacksonville State lead to three points (14-11) but it was too late for the Skyhawks to complete their comeback.

Jacksonville State nabbed the win by hitting .348 with only two attack errors in the final set.

The Skyhawks will look to get back on track next weekend when they continue their four-match road swing at Austin Peay (Nov. 3) and at Murray State (Nov. 4).

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