Volleyball Wins MSU/Microtel Classic With 3-1 Triumph Over Mississippi State
Sept. 18, 2004
STARKVILLE, Miss.-- - The University of Memphis volleyball claimed the 2004 MSU/Microtel Classic with a 3-1 win over host Mississippi State (6-5) Saturday afternoon. Memphis swept the competition this weekend with a 3-2 win over Eastern Kentucky and a sweep of Louisiana Tech. Senior Tiara Gilkey was named the Tournament's MVP, while junior outside hitter Nancy Nellans posted her best performances of the season to garner All-tournament honors.
Memphis (10-4) clinched the tournament title with a powerful Game three performance in which they hit .306 with 20 kills. The Tigers put up a 6-0 run to take total control of the game. Memphis finished the game on a 12-3 run.
A pair of 4-0 runs that included services aces by Christen Clayton and Melissa Nance powered Memphis to a 22-13 lead. The Tigers increased the lead to as much as 11 points, at 25-14, and never let the Bulldogs get closer the nine the rest of the game in a dominating 30-18 win. Memphis hit a blistering .483 in the set, downing 18 kills to Mississippi State's 12.
The Tigers and Bulldogs battled back and forth in the second game, with Memphis taking control first after Nancy Nellan's kill capped a 3-0 run that gave them a 16-13 lead. MSU fought to take a 20-19, but the Tigers responded with five unanswered points to take control, 24-20, before Nellans downed a kill to clinch the game-two triumph.
Mississippi State told hold of the third set after breaking a 17-17 tie with a 3-0 run. Memphis cut the lead to 19-20 on Heather Watts' service ace, but was never able to gain control of the lead as the Bulldogs managed to salvage a 30-26 win.
Nellans led Memphis, who had four players put up double digits in kills and digs, with 19 kills and 19 digs in her second straight double-double. Freshman Ashley Liford followed with 16 kills. Gilkey downed 10 kills to go with 18 digs and Fehi Tuivai added 11 kills, while Heather Watts set 59 assists.
The Tiger defense was also solid, holding the Bulldogs to a .193 hitting percentage for the match with 77 digs and seven blocks. Emily Steckel and Christen Clayton each recorded 12 assists in a winning cause.
Rachel Cooper paced the Bulldogs with a double-double that included 13 kills and 13 digs, while Kelly Willinger downed 10 kills. Andrea Mead dug a team-high 14 balls on the defense end for MSU.