Volleyball Captures Elusive First Win, Sweeps Northern Illinois
Sept. 11, 2009
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. -
Northern Illinois (4-5) 19 23 26 Memphis (1-7) 25 25 28
For the University of Memphis volleyball team, finishing sets has been a downfall early in the 2009 season. Behind a team-high 11 kills from redshirt freshman Altrese Hawkins and a match-best 18 digs from libero Becky Shaffer, the Tigers overcame that glitch to sweep Northern Illinois for the club's first win of the season.
"This is the first match this year that we looked like a team and played like a team," said second-year head coach April Jauregui. "We have dealt with some adversity this week and it's nice to see them put everything aside and play well. Northern Illinois is a fantastic team so it's nice to get a victory over a strong team from a strong conference. I look for us to build off of this win."
Christine Bach handed out a match-high 33 assists and fell one dig shy of her third double-double of the year. Carolyn Baker hit .375 on eight kills. Katlin Inglish and Lauren Thompsoon added nine kills each.
Memphis got dominating performances from the duo of Baker and Hawkins to claim its first set in six matches. Baker slammed down three kills and pressured the NIU offense with a strong serve, while Hawkins hit .429 with four kills. Memphis opened the contest with a solo block by senior Lauren Thompson, but Northern Illinois quickly responded by scoring on the next for serves for a 4-1 lead. Trailing 8-5, Hawkins connected for a kill that ignited a six-point push that put the Tigers on top 11-8. NIU fought back to knot the set at 11-all, and the tilt remained tied until a Baker struck for three-straight kills for a 19-16 Tigers lead. Hawkins made it four consecutive scores with a kill to make it 20-16, and Memphis never let up en route to a six-point set-one victory.
Baker again controlled action in set two knocking down a pair of kills and assisting on a block to turn a two-point deficit into an 18-15 U of M advantage. A kill by Hawkins made it 20-17, but the Huskies clawed back to tie the set at 20-20. Memphis regained the two-point cushion, 22-20, after a kill by Thompson. NIU again fought back to tie the period at 23. Memphis snatched the lead back with a kill by Inglish and an attack error by Northern Illinois sent the Tigers into the locker room with a 2-0 lead.
The U of M went ahead early in the third, but found itself trailing 7-6 after NIU put together a four-point surge. The deficit increased to four points at 18-14 before Baker and Hawkins proved the Tigers with a shot of energy in 7-1 run. Hawkins cranked a kill and then teamed up with Baker on a block to trim the Huskies' lead to two points. The redshirt freshman downed another kill and Baker recorded an ace to tie the set at 19. Memphis continued to push and used an attack error by NIU, followed by a kill by Thompson to take a 21-19 advantage. The two teams battled back-and-forth until Baker came through with her eighth kill of the day. NIU sealed the Tigers' 28-26 victory with an attacking error.
Memphis, now 1-7, will take on Tennessee State in the nightcap of Friday's doubleheader. First serve is scheduled for 4:30 p.m.