Volleyball Sweeps Home Opener, 3-0
Sept. 12, 2003
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - The University of Memphis volleyball team (8-1) came out fired up and ready to take advantage of a vocal home crowd in the opening round of the Memphis Invitational, Friday. The Tigers threw a number of different looks at Tennessee Tech en route a 3-0 (30-16, 30-23, 30-28) victory.
Memphis got out to big leads that hurt the Golden Eagles in the first two games. In game one, Memphis was up 19-7 when TTU got back on track. But having such an deep hole to work out of allowed Memphis to weather the points that the Golden Eagles starting stringing together and close out game one 30-16. Game two was another big Tiger lead, this time starting out 7-0 before the Golden Eagles broke onto the scoreboard. Tech hit just .103 in the second game, but when sophomore setter Nancy Meyer stepped into the lineup late in the second game, the TTU offense began stringing points, fighting off game point five times before Memphis closed out game two 30-28.
After the break between games two and three, the match tightened up significantly, with TTU taking its first lead of the game at 7-6, but unable to pull away by more than one point three different times before the Tigers reeled them back in. Memphis continued to use a balanced offensive attack to keep the Golden Eagles on their heels, with senior Brittany Barnett and junior Tiara Gilkey each downing 12 kills while Nancy Nellans added six and Melissa Nance and Shella Neba adding five apiece.
"I saw a tape of Tennessee Tech and they are a good team," Tiger head coach Carrie Yerty said. "We just never gave them a chance to show us what they were made of, which is good. We were aggressive tonight and got a solid performance from Brittany (Barnett), and Tiara played well offensively and defensively, getting another double-double."
Gilkey led the team with 12 digs, her eighth double-double in nine matches. Libero Christen Clayton added 10 digs and two assists, while Shella Neba again led the Tiger blocking forces with four total blocks.
"Our defense and our blocking are getting better every time out," Yerty said. "That's good, that's an area we need to move up on the stats chart on to get ready for conference play."
Tennessee Tech will open the second day's play against Louisiana-Lafayette, who downed Holy Cross, 3-0, Friday. That match will begin at 10 a.m. Memphis' next match will be a 1 p.m. contest against Holy Cross. Memphis will wrap up its tournament, Saturday, at 7 p.m. against Louisiana-Lafayette. TTU's second match Saturday will be against Holy Cross, slated to begin at 4 p.m.