Memphis Sweeps Northwestern State, Takes Second in UCA Sugar Bear Classic
Sept. 18, 2010
CONWAY, Ark. -
Memphis (9-3) 25 25 25 Northwestern State (8-5) 12 14 13
Marija Jovanovic downed a match-high 10 kills and Hajnalka Molnar set a match-best 31 assists as Memphis cruised to a straight-set victory over Northwestern State in its final match at the UCA Sugar Bear Classic Saturday. The Tigers improve to 9-3 on the season and finish as the Classic's runner-up. Jovanovic and Molnar were each named to the UCA Sugar Bear Classic All-Tournament team.
After struggling in a 3-0 loss at UCA on Friday night, Memphis came out firing on Saturday. The Tigers hit .431 for the match and posted a plus-18 advantage in kills. Meanwhile the Tiger's defense held NSU to a .086 clip.
"I am happy to pick up a solid win after a tough loss last night," Memphis head coach April Jauregui commented. "We really were firing on all cylinders. Our original goal for this preseason was to be 10-2 going into conference. We were close to reaching that goal. We had our challenges along the way with two, five-game matches which we pulled out and a tough environment here at UCA. Overall I am pleased with our progression. We have high goals for this season and if we stay the course, stick together, and work hard I feel those goals are attainable."
The Tigers dominated play from the outset as Vesna Jelic recorded an ace on the opening serve. From there Memphis put together three separate four-point runs to take a 16-5 lead. With the set in hand, the Tigers clinched the opener by scoring on seven of the final eight serves. Memphis hit .417 and held the Lady Demons to .087 hitting in the first set.
The Tigers continued their hot pace in the second, hitting .348, with an 80-percent success rate on side-out opportunities. A pair of strikes by Jovanovic and a kill by Jelic powered a 4-0 surge to put the Tigers ahead 6-2 early on. With a 14-8 lead, Memphis scored the next five points to put the game away. A kill by Altrese Hawkins and Jelic's third ace of the set help helped Memphis finish strong with a 3-0 push to end the frame and give the Tigers a 2-0 lead.
Memphis trailed early in the third set, before Cassidy Hawkins sparked a 6-0 run and the Tiger's lead was never again in jeopardy. Katlin Inglish capped the surge and gave Memphis an 11-6 lead. Behind kills from Jelic, Jovanovic, Jovana Barisic, Cassidy Hawkins and Inglish, the Tigers were able to finish the match off with scores on 10 of the last 13 rallies. The third set was the most productive for the U of M. The squad hit .520, with 15 kills, while limiting NSU's offense to .083.
After getting a combined four swings in the loss to UCA on Friday night, the Memphis middle blocking crew of Cassidy Hawkins and Katie Meyer put together a pair of solid performances. The duo combined for 13 kills and a .667 attack percentage. Cassidy Hawkins totaled seven kills and hit .636. Meyer hit .714 on six kills and just one error. For the first time this season, outside hitter Altrese Hawkins did not reach double-figures in kills, finishing with eight.
Libero Christine Bach led all performers with nine digs. Jelic, who served up four aces, added eight digs for the Memphis defense.
With the pre-C-USA season behind it, Memphis will now set its sights on the quest for a C-USA title. That journey will begin on Sat., Sept. 25, when the Tigers play host to Tulsa in the first of two weekend contests against the Golden Hurricane. The two clubs will also meet on Sun., Sept. 26. Both matches are set for a 1 p.m. first serve at the Elma Roane Fieldhouse.