Memphis Claims Tournament Title With Four-Set Win
Aug. 27, 2011
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - After a closely contested four sets, the Memphis Tigers (4-0) stood victorious over the Georgia State Panthers (25-22, 24-26, 25-23, 25-22) to claim the Memphis Invitational Tournament title. Redshirt freshman Aleksandra Petronijevic posted a career-high 29 digs, tying for ninth all-time in the Memphis record books.
Junior Altrese Hawkins, who was later named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player, recorded 18 kills. Junior Marija Jovanovic (15 kills, 16 digs) and junior Vesna Jelic (11 kills, 13 digs) each posted double-doubles in the battle between the two unbeaten teams remaining in the tournament. Junior setter Haljnalka Molnar contributed 61 assists in the match. Jovanovic and Petronijevic were each named to the All-Tournament team for their efforts over the weekend.
Muki Kangwa led the Panthers with 17 kills, and Vineece Verdun chipped in 16 kills of her own. Defensive specialist Emily Averbeck posted 22 digs as the Panthers fell to 3-1.
In the beginning stages of the match, both teams were effective on the attack. Memphis was the first to gain control with a 10-7 edge on the scoreboard in set one. Georgia State demonstrated moxie in making the comeback to pull ahead 13-12. Behind a Jelic attack and a pair of Panther mistakes, Memphis regained a two-point advantage, a margin that the Tigers maintained as they closed out the set 25-22. Jelic recorded five kills in the set, and Molnar handed out 15 assists for the Tigers.
With Memphis trailing in the opening moments of the second set, sophomore Katie Meyer and Jovanovic combined on the block, and the Tigers converted a long rally on the way to a 6-3 advantage. The Panthers slowly climbed their way back into an 11-11 tie. With the Tigers up 14-13, Jelic made a great dig that created a monstrous kill by Altrese Hawkins. Kangwa responded with a kill of her own igniting a GSU run to give them a 17-16 edge. For the second time in the set, Memphis converted a long rally in its favor to regain the lead at 22-21, but GSU wasted no time taking control back from the Tigers. The Tigers were able to stave off one set point, but GSU capitalized on the second opportunity to take the set, 26-24.
Georgia State came out of the break on a blistering pace, creating a quick 5-0 deficit for the Tigers. Memphis found its composure and climbed back into the game to tie it at 10-all, before taking a two-point advantage, 13-11. Despite a flurry of service errors, the Tigers were able to expand the two-point margin to four points at 20-16. Refusing to go away quietly, GSU battled back to within one, 20-19, before the Tigers pushed the lead back out to three, 23-20. The Panthers would stave off three set points, but Jelic closed out the set, 25-23, with a kill.
Altrese Hawkins, Katie Myer and Jovanovic each connected on kills to help Memphis to a 4-2 lead at the start of the fourth set. However, GSU's front line posted back-to-back blocks on the Tigers and jumped out to an 11-9 advantage. The Panthers' front line continued to be a strong presence en route to building a four-point edge, 17-13. Behind the strength of multiple Altrese Hawkins' kills, Memphis tied the game at 18-all and eventually regained the lead at 20-19. The Tigers closed out the Panthers following a tough-fought rally, 25-22.
Memphis Invitational All-Tournament Team