Second-Set Rally Propels Tigers to First Victory
Aug. 29, 2014
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - The Memphis Volleyball team tipped off the 2014 season with a 1-1 record at the Marcia E. Hamilton Classic in St. Louis, Mo., on Friday afternoon. The Tigers lost the first match in four sets to Southeast Missouri (25-20, 21-25, 25-23, 25-16) before rallying for the win against Saint Louis (22-25, 27-25, 25-21, 25-13). Freshmen Oluchi Agomuo and Kate Gibson each started both matches.
"We improved today," Memphis head coach April Jauregui said. "I thought our middles played great the entire day. They really kept us going. We have a great challenge against Alabama tomorrow. That's what we want early in the season is to see where we are at as a team."
In the opener, the Tigers dropped a narrow four-set decision to Southeast Missouri State, 20-25, 25-21, 23-25, 16-25. Junior Veronica Zimmerman distributed 36 helpers and 15 digs and sophomore Catlin Lilly posted 10 kills and a career-high 23 digs for double-double performances. Senior Lauren Wright and junior Alexis Wesley led all players with 12 kills apiece. Senior Aleksandra Petronijevic recorded 20 digs in the loss. It was the 28th-time in her career the Serbian dug out at least 20 volleys.
"We weren't really clicking in the first match," Jauregui said. "We had two freshmen on the court and they weren't the problem. We had too many errors in the first game. We just weren't clicking offensively."
The second match saw the Blue and Gray rally from an early deficit and charge toward the finish for the victory. Memphis started slowly in the second set before finding its rhythm late in the game. With the Billikens leading 18-14 and looking to take a 2-0 advantage, the Tigers ran off an 11-7 run, going to extra points to take the game, 27-25. Memphis would ride the momentum through the end of the match, never trailing by more than a point in the third and fourth sets.
"We just have to have that confidence from the beginning," Jauregui said on the second set comeback victory. "We had a better vibe overall. We managed the game better. They started making a lot of errors. We know that we can play at a really high level. We have to control our side. We know that we can't count on the other team to make a lot of errors. We have to play well and earn our points."
Wesley (13), Gibson (11), Agomuo (11) and Wright (10) all posted double-digit kills in the second match. Gibson recorded a double-double in only her second career start. Zimmerman logged another 47 assists and 10 digs for her second double-double at the tournament.
The Tigers continue action at the Marcia E. Hamilton Classic tomorrow afternoon when they take on Alabama at 2 p.m. To learn more about Memphis Volleyball, visit gotigersgo.com and follow @MemphisVolley on Twitter and Instagram.