MARTIN, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee at Martin volleyball team claimed the first and fourth sets this evening but came up just short against Tennessee Tech, falling 3-2 (25-16, 26-28, 21-25, 25-22, 12-15) at Skyhawk Fieldhouse.
Junior Allie Whimpey led the way for UT Martin with 15 kills and a .282 attack percentage. Shelby Hoskins (.286, 11 kills) and Amanda Crask (44 assists) also led the Skyhawk offense while Lynsey Hazelwood (16), Colleen Larson (15) and Chelsea Bowles (11) each reached double-figures in the digs column tonight.
“I thought Allie did a really nice job tonight offensively and defensively,” UT Martin head coach Darrin McClure said. “She’s been really steady for us and we just need her to continue to do that. I also thought Lynsey did a good job tonight – her serve/receive was really good and she passed the ball well.”
UT Martin (8-12, 2-2 OVC) got off to a hot start, going on top 4-1 in the first set. The Golden Eagles would tie the score at 5-all before an 8-2 Skyhawk run provided a 13-7 lead, capped off with back-to-back service aces by Whimpey. A kill by Hoskins gave UT Martin a 17-8 lead and the Skyhawks would open up a double-digit lead at 23-13 before closing out the set with the 25-16 win.
Whimpey had four kills to guide an offense that hit .250 (10 kills, four errors in 24 attempts) in the first set.
UT Martin led 4-2 in the second set and after three early ties, pushed its lead out to 15-12 courtesy of a solo block by Hazelwood. The Skyhawks would continue to hold the lead, including a 22-19 advantage and had match point twice until Tennessee Tech made a comeback, scoring five of the last seven points of the set to even the match at 1-1.
Keaton had four kills while Crask handed out 13 assists to pace the Skyhawks in the second set.
Three early kills by Whimpey provided a 7-3 UT Martin lead in the third set. The Skyhawk lead ballooned to 11-6 thanks to an Emily Keaton kill and UT Martin stayed ahead until a 9-3 Tennessee Tech run gave the Golden Eagles a 15-14 lead. From that point forward, there were seven ties and six lead changes in the set. The Skyhawks led 21-20 behind a Hoskins kill but Tennessee Tech accounted for the final five points of the set.
Whimpey’s five kills on 10 swings led UT Martin in the third set.
Tennessee Tech jumped out to a 7-2 lead in the early stages of the fourth set but the Skyhawks kept grinding away, slicing their deficit to 11-9 at one point. After the Golden Eagles scored the next point, UT Martin went on a 7-0 run – keyed by three service aces by Hazelwood. A Madison Wessling kill lifted the Skyhawks to a 20-15 lead and Tennessee Tech would get no closer than two points the rest of the way.
Larson scooped up seven digs while five different Skyhawks had multiple kills in the fourth set.
Tennessee Tech led 5-2 in the fifth set but a 4-0 run soon thereafter pulled UT Martin within a single point at 9-8. The Golden Eagles then scored four consecutive points but the Skyhawks fought off match point three times to make the score 14-12. However, Tennessee Tech would come back with the final kill on the next possession.
UT Martin begins a four-match road swing next Friday, Oct. 11 when it travels to Murray State. First serve is scheduled for 7 p.m.