Volleyball Wins First Home Tournament Crown Since 1998
Sept. 13, 2003
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - The University of Memphis volleyball team (10-1) used a pair of 3-0 sweeps Saturday to claim its first Memphis Invitational Tournament title since 1998. Memphis downed eventual fourth-place finisher Holy Cross 30-22, 30-22 and 30-18 in the morning match, and downed Louisiana-Lafayette 30-22, 30-21 and 30-15 in the nightcap.
The Tigers had three players named to the all-tournament team, led by junior setter Heather Watts (Sandy, Utah/Skyline). Watts, earning her second straight tournament MVP award and her third all-tournament team award of the season, finished the evening with a 41 assist, two service ace and 10-dig night against ULL.
Joining Watts on the all-tournament team for the third straight time was junior Tiara Gilkey (Creve Couer, Mo./Pattonsville). Gilkey posted 10 kills in the win over Holy Cross after her eighth double-double of the season Friday night against Tennessee Tech.
Earning her first career all-tournament award was senior Shella Neba (Aurora, Colo./St. Mary's). Neba led the Tigers in blocking all weekend and hit .556 in the win over ULL after hitting .429 against Holy Cross.
Memphis had a series of spectacular performances over the weekend. Sophomore Nancy Nellans (South Bend, Ind./St.Joseph) led the Tigers in the ULL match, posting 19 kills. Nellans also added 10 digs, three services and a block assist while hitting .552 in the final match of the evening.
A second outstanding performance came from senior Brittany Barnett (Dallas, Texas/Lake Highlands). Barnett had 14 kills and hit .542 in the win over ULL, adding 4 digs, two total blocks and two service aces.
ULL struggled to find an offensive rhythm, hitting .114 in the opening game, but hitting .024 in game two. The Ragin' Cajuns hit .093 for the match, and went the entire match without acing the Memphis passers. ULL was also outblocked 7-2.5. Hope Webre led the team with eight kills on 22 swings, while Beth Henson led the defense with nine digs. Henson was also named to the All-Tournament team.
Memphis hit .367 for the match, including a season-best .552 in the third game, downing 18 kills against just two errors on 29 attacks.
Holy Cross' setter, Michelle Leahy, was the sixth and final honoree on the all-tournament team after dishing out 17 assists and adding five kills and seven digs in a 3-0 loss to Memphis.
University of Memphis Invitational All-Tournament Team