Volleyball Survives Scare from UT-Martin, 3-2
Aug. 30, 2003
JONESBORO, Ark. - The University of Memphis volleyball team (3-0) survived a UT-Martin comeback from 2-0 down to defeat UT-Martin in the second day's action at the Arkansas State Volleyball Classic, Saturday.
In the fifth, and deciding game, the Skyhawks got out to a quick 4-0 start and looked like they were going to capitalize on some broken series that went their way. But Memphis bounced back and knotted the game at six a piece, forcing UT-Martin to call their first timeout. The Skyhawks responded with three straight points to go up 9-6, forcing Memphis to take its final timeout. After Head Coach Carrie Yerty told the team to take a deep breath and relax, the Tigers came back out and knotted the game at nine a piece again. The score remained knotted all the way to 14-14. Memphis knotched their 15th point, but UTM answered by knotting the score again at 15. One of Tiara Gilkey's 27 kills put Memphis up 16-15 and a block from senior Brittany Barnett and freshman Melissa Nance gave the Tigers the emotional 3-2 win.
The entire match was a back-and-forth affair. In the first game, the swcore was knotted at 18 a piece before a 6-2 Memphis run gave the Tigers all the cushion they needed en route the 30-23 game one win.
The Tigers, which had struggled in the opening game, hitting a game-low .189, found their offensive groove, hitting .306 with sophomore Nancy Nellans downing five of her 18 kills in the second game alone. Memphis won game two, 30-27, before the Skyhawks answered back with a 30-23 game three win. A line-judge calling a touch on a block sealed game four in the Skyhawks' favor, a game which featured a rally in which setter Heather Watts used her foot to retrieve a spectacular dig from freshman Christen Clayton. Clayton led the Tigers with 13 digs in the win, one of four Tigers to tally double-digit digs. That rally came to a crashing end when Watts slipped while pursuing another spectacular Clayton save, ending a rally that had the crowd on the edges of their seats. UT-Martin won game four, 30-27, while Watts recovered from the encounter with the floor and tried to catch her breath.
Gilkey again led the Tigers with 27 kills. Nellans added 18 in the win to hit double-digit kills for the third straight game, while Brittany Barnett added 17 kills and a game-winning block assist. Shella Neba added eight kills, while Nance added seven in the win. Leigh Reiniche led four Skyhawks with double-digit kills with 24. Rebecca Palmer added 15, while Heather Kea and Jamie Fitzwater each added 14 in the Skyhawks' third loss of the season.
In addition to her kick save, Watts' added 70 assists and led all players with three service aces on the day.
Memphis will wrap up participation in the ASU Tournmament against the host Indians, tonight, at 7 p.m. The Skyhawks and the Tigers will square off again in non-conference action, Sept. 7th, in Martin, Tenn. Not originally slated to face one another in this tournament, that meeting will mark the second in three weeks for the two familar foes.