Volleyball Upended by Evansville, 3-1, in Season Opener
Aug. 28, 2009
MEMPHIS, Tenn. -
Evansville (1-0) 25 25 26 25 Memphis (0-1) 22 23 28 20
Memphis got match-high performances from Stephanie Pauls (54 assists), Christine Bach (31 digs) and Katlin Inglish (16 kills), but made 16 errors from the service line in a 3-1 loss to Evansville in the 2009 season opener Friday night at the Elma Roane Fieldhouse.
In a match that featured 44 ties and 18 lead changes, the Tigers out dueled the Purple Aces in kills, hitting percentage and assists. However, Memphis squandered late leads in three of the four sets.
"When the game gets tight, we have to be able to execute plays," said second-year head coach April Jauregui. "
Altrese Hawkins and Pauls made quality showings in their collegiate debuts. Hawkins slammed down 13 kills and hit .286, while Pauls completed a double-double outing with 10 digs.
"We had a good debut from our freshman setter Stephanie Pauls," Jauregui said. "I thought for her first college match, she came out and played solid. Altrese Hawkins also came out and did some nice things. The potential is there, we just have to execute a little bit better.
Trailing 2-1 in the match, Memphis got a block from Lauren Thompson and Carolyn Baker to break a 14-14 tie and send the Tigers on a five-point run that ended with one of Thompson's 10 kills to give the home team a 19-15 cushion. But with the Tigers threatening a deciding set, the Purple Aces responded by scoring on five of the next six rallies to knot the set at 20-all. Memphis could not stop the momentum as Evansville stretched the run to eight-straight points to wrap up the match with a 25-20 win. Memphis was outscored 10-1 over the last 11 serves of the match.
Memphis got out of the gates slowly, falling behind 4-0 in the opening set, before Hawkins connected with a kill to get the Tigers on the board. However, another four-point EU push made it 9-2. Another kill by Hawkins capped a 4-0 surge by the Tigers and made it 13-10 in favor of the visitors. Memphis continued to chip away and a strike by Inglish pulled them to within one point, 19-18. The Tigers hung on to the one-point deficit, but with the score at 23-22, Evansville struck with a kills and used a U of M attacking error to close out the set, 25-22.
Neither squad was able to gain control of the second set. The period featured 14 ties and five lead changes. Tied at 17-17, Memphis got consecutive kills from Hawkins and Inglish, followed by a service ace from Rachel Theard for a 20-17 advantage. Despite Hitting .359 in the set, the Tigers could not maintain the hold on the lead as the Purple Aces came back with six of the next nine points to knot the set at 23. For the second-straight time it was EU who found the final two scores to take a 2-0 lead into the intermission.
In the most competitive set of the evening, Memphis and Evansville fought through 19 ties and eight lead changes before a kill by Thompson and a Purple Aces attacking error sealed the win for the Tigers. Evansville held the largest lead by either team when it led 23-20. Trailing by three, Inglish downed a kill, Theard added a service ace and Evansville committed an attacking miscue to tie the period at 23-all. Memphis gained control of the match when Emily Underwood connected for one of her six set-three kills to put Memphis on top 26-25 and they never let go of the advantage.
Underwood finished the night with 10 kills and a .368 attack percentage. Defensively, Memphis was led by Bach, while defensive specialist Becky Shaffer added 16 digs.
The Tigers will round out the Memphis Invitational with a doubleheader on Saturday. They will host SEMO at 1 p.m., followed by a 7 p.m. matchup versus Arkansas State.