Tigers Power Past Southern Illinois to Claim Saluki Invitational Tournament Title
Sept. 10, 2011
Marija Jovanovic recorded her third double-double of the season and was named tournament MVP as the Tigers (8-2) knocked off Southern Illinois in straight sets (25-23;25-14;25-19) to claim its second tournament title of the preseason at the 2011 Saluki Invitational.
SIU took control of the first set early, going up 3-0 behind two kills from Laura Thole. Memphis battled back to tie the set at four with a kill from Altrese Hawkins and three errors from the Salukis. SIU then regained the lead and extended its advantage to 18-16 before the Tigers battled back to tie the set at 23 behind kills from Jovanovic and Hawkins. The Tigers took their first lead of the set at 24-23 behind another kill from Hawkins and sealed the set 25-23 when the Salukis were whistled for being in the net on the set point.
Memphis carried the momentum from its rally late in the first set into the second set and jumped out to a 4-1 lead, which forced SIU to call a timeout. That didn't stop the Tigers, however, as they pushed forward and extended their lead to 10-3 behind three service aces from Hawkins.
SIU closed the gap to as few as four when back-to-back attack errors by Memphis made it 15-11. The Tigers responded with a 5-1 run behind two kills from Jovanovic and went on to take the set 25-14.
The Salukis and Tigers battled and traded points for the early part of the set and found themselves tied at 13. Two kills from Jovanovic and a bad set call on SIU allowed the Tigers to take a 16-13 advantage, and they never looked back.
With Jovanovic serving, Memphis went up 21-14 before SIU fought back to make it 22-16. Katie Meyer then recorded her first kill of the third to make it 23-16 and then back-to-back kills from Hawkins and Jovanovic sealed the set, match and tournament for the Tigers.
A. Hawkins led the Tigers with 15 kills in the match, while Jovanovic recorded a double-double of 14 kills and 14 digs en route to being named the Saluki Invitational MVP. Hajnalka Molnar also recorded a double-double of 37 assists and 10 digs and was selected to the all-tournament team. Jovanovic has now been selected to the all-tournament team in each of the Tigers' three preseason tournaments.
Aleksandra Petronjievic recorded 10 digs to push her double-digit digs streak to 10 games, while Maja Kostic recorded a season-high nine kills in the victory. Lauren Hawkins recorded four kills and two blocks after returning from battling a stomach bug, while Katie Meyer chipped in two kills, one dig and two blocks.
SIU was led by Alysia Mayes and Laura Thole, who each recorded eight kills in the loss. Rachael Brown led the Salukis with 20 assists, while Bailey Yeager anchored the defense with 14 digs.
The Tigers return home for a week of practice before hitting the road again next weekend for the Spartan Spiketacular in Greensboro, N.C. Memphis will take on tournament-host UNC-Greensboro Friday, Sept. 16 at 6 p.m. and then play two games on Saturday, Sept. 16 against Radford (9:30 a.m.) and Howard (4 p.m.).