Tigers Drop Pair at West Virginia Tournament
Sept. 17, 2005
MORGANTOWN, W.V. -
Memphis (8-6) 21 22 27 West Virginia (10-3) 30 30 30The University of Memphis volleyball team suffered its second sweep of the season in a straight-set loss to West Virginia in the final match of the WVU Classic. Memphis finished 0-3 in the Classic, while Nancy Nellans was named to the All-tournament squad. The loss is the fourth-straight for Memphis, equaling the Tigers' longest losing string since a six-match streak in 2002.
West Virginia used a 7-1 surge to take hold of a 10-6 lead early in the contest. The Mountaineers increased the cushion to seven points, at 21-14. WVU continued to extend its advantage and ended the opening frame with its largest lead, 30-21. The West Virginia offense was strong in the first game, hitting at a .395 clip and maintaining a 20-14 advantage in the kills department. Stephanie Zolna hammered nine kills to lead West Virginia to game one victory.
Game two saw West Virginia open up a 4-0 lead before Nellans put Memphis on the board with her third kill of the evening. The Mountaineers never trailed in the game and pushed its lead to 11 points on a 9-2 run midway through the contest. A kill by Colette Ramirez followed by three straight attacking errors by the Mountaineers enabled the Tigers to climb back into the game at 23-20. However, WVU responded with a four-point run to push the lead back to seven points.
Memphis again fell behind 4-0 in game three before scoring its first point via a WVU service error. Kills by Ashley Liford and Fehi Tuivai trimmed the deficit to just one on different occasions, but the Mountaineers managed to regain a five-point cushion at 20-15. Memphis made a 5-0 surge late in the game, but could not make up the deficit in a 30-26 game three loss.
Shelby Burton came out of her slump to lead the Tigers, who again struggled offensively, with 11 kills and a .348 attack percentage. Liford and Nellans each finished with nine kills. Defensively, Kristen Hardee posted a career-high 12 digs, while Laura Côtè and Nellans logged 11 and 10, respectively. Burton also had four assisted blocks.
Memphis (8-5) 28 15 30 23 Buffalo (6-5) 30 30 22 30
Nellans nailed a match-high 19 kills to go with 13 digs, but the Tigers were unable to hold off a solid Buffalo attack in a 3-1 loss Saturday afternoon at the West Virginia Classic. The loss was the third in a row for Memphis, who drops to 8-5 on the year.
Memphis and Buffalo fought for control of the opening game, but it was the Bulls that would come out ahead via a 5-1 rally that gave them a 17-15 lead halfway through. Memphis tied the game at 17-17 on one Christen Clayton's (Clear Lake, Texas/Clear Lake HS) four service aces, but UB regained the lead at 21-19. The Tigers battled back to tie the game at 26 and 28, but Buffalo was able to outlast the Tigers in the end, 30-28.
Game two was all Buffalo, as the Bulls used a mighty 20-3 push to take command of the match in a 30-15 win. In the rally was a pair of 8-0 runs that helped UB cruise to a second-game triumph. The 15-point total was the lowest single-game point total for the Tigers this season. Buffalo hit a blistering .500 in the game, with 16 kills. Memphis was only able to manage nine kills, while being held to a lowly .061 hitting clip.
The Tigers finally came alive in the fourth frame. Memphis overcame an early 4-2 deficit with a four-point run fueled by three Nellans kills. The Tigers never trailed again as an 11-3 push helped them take control 18-10. The U of M continued to put pressure on the Bulls and made a 7-2 push to put the game away at 29-19. Nellans hammered seven kills in the frame to help Memphis hit .359, its highest attack percentage of the match.
Buffalo jumped out to a 9-0 lead in the final game to put pressure on the Tigers. Memphis cut the deficit to four points, at 23-19, but was never able to fully recover from such a slow start.
Liford also reached double figures in kills for Memphis, who finished the match hitting just .154, with 12. Laura Côtè (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan/Aden Bowman Collegiate) recorded a double-double of 50 assists and 14 digs, while Clayton had 13 digs.
Four Bulls posted double-digit kill outings, led by Nikki Morzenti and Lauren Burd, both of whom had 12 kills. Brandie Clark and Jenna Mape' notched 11 and 10 kills, respectively. Morzenti completed her double-double performance with a match-best 15 digs, while setter Amy Brown had 12 digs to go with 50 assists.
Memphis will now prepare for its eighth-straight match away from home, when the Tigers travel to Houston to take on the Cougars in the Conference USA opener for both. Match time is set for 7 p.m.