Memphis Sweeps To Open 2011
Aug. 26, 2011
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - The Memphis Tiger volleyball team opened the 2011 season Friday with a sweep (36-34, 25-22, 25-15) of Alabama A&M in the Memphis Invitational. Junior Marija Jovanovic led the way for the Tigers with 16 kills while junior Altrese Hawkins followed with 14 putaways on the strength of a .353 hitting percentage.
Ready to get the season started, the Tigers jumped out to an early 9-4 lead in set one with offensive production from all over the court. But hitting errors began creeping into the Memphis offense, allowing Alabama A&M to conjure up an 11-10 advantage. Hawkins proved why she is the Tigers' go-to hitter with a powerful cross-court kill to halt the Bulldogs' momentum and put Memphis back on top. After a flurry of sideouts and trading points, the Tigers put together three straight scores to go up 21-17 and seemingly take control.
But A&M wasn't done yet and used a 6-1 run to earn set point at 24-23. A kill from Jovanovic kept the Tigers alive as did three more kills from Hawkins with Memphis continually facing defeat. The set continued well past the 25-point mark with neither team willing to give up the back-to-back scores needed to win. Tied at 34, Hawkins finally gave the Tigers the opportunity they needed with a kill down the middle to reach set point, which they converted on a four-hit call to win 36-34. Hawkins and Jovanovic each posted eight kills in the set to power Memphis to victory.
Set two began much as set one ended with both teams evenly matched and trading points. But with the score tied at 19, the wheels fell off for the Bulldogs as they racked up four straight hitting errors and quickly found themselves trailing 23-19. The spurt was enough for the Tigers as they took advantage to win 25-22.
After trailing 3-1 early in set three, Memphis put together a 9-1 run punctuated with a kill from Jovanovic to take a 10-4 lead. The Tigers led the rest of the way and ended the set on a 4-0 spurt to claim the dominating 25-15 win.