Volleyball Drops Four-Set Battle to Samford
Sept. 18, 2009
MEMPHIS, Tenn. -
Samford (4-7) 23 25 29 25 Memphis (2-10) 25 13 27 19
The University of Memphis volleyball team fell for the second time this weekend when it dropped a 3-1 decision to Samford to wrap up day one of the Tiger Invitational at the Elma Roane Fieldhouse.
Sophomore middle blocker Casey Sines led the Memphis offense with a .471 hitting percentage on 10 kills. Redshirt freshman Altrese Hawkins connected for 11 kills. Defensively, Memphis got a team-best 12 digs from libero Becky Shaffer and five total blocks from Carolyn Baker.
As it did in last night's match, Memphis got out of the gates quickly, using separate block assists from Carolyn Baker and Altrese Hawkins, and Baker and Lauren Thompson to take a 6-1 lead. The cushion did not hold up long as Samford battled back with a 6-1 run if its own to tie the set at 7-7. Neither team could gain control in the set until a Bulldog attack error broke a 21-21 tie. Thompson and Baker again came up with a block for Memphis, who got three blocks in the opening stanza; to give the Tigers a two-point advantage and that would be enough in a 25-23 set-one win. Memphis hit .290 in the set and helped its cause by connecting on 65 percent of its side-out opportunities.
The Tiger struggled to pass effectively in the second period and fell behind 11-4 after a four-point rally by Samford. The Tigers could not find a rhythm as the deficit continually increased until the 25-13 final. SU's offense turned up the pressure and hit a blistering .469 on 16 kills and just one error to even the tilt. The Bulldogs were 13-of-14, for 92 percent, on side-out chances.
With the match tied at 1-1, Memphis connected for the first three points of the third set and led by as much as five points (13-8) midway through. However, Samford came back to score on seven of the next 10 serves to cut the Tigers lead to 16-15. A block by Baker combined with an attacking error by the Samford offense pushed the Memphis advantage out to 18-15. But the Tigers could not hold of the Bulldogs' charge. Samford went on a 7-1 run to take a 22-20 lead. Memphis grabbed momentum and turned the two-point deficit into a two-point advantage with a four-point push to make it 24-22. The two clubs battled through ties at 24, 25, 26 and 27 before Samford benefitted from a Memphis service error and attacking error to seal a 29-27 victory.
Hawkins highlighted a strong game-four start with a pair of kills as Memphis opened the fourth set by scoring on the first four serves. But as was the case in the previous sets, Samford came back to tie the game at 4-4. The Bulldogs stretched their lead to four points, at 11-7 before Memphis regrouped with a timeout. Sines started a Tiger surge with a kill, and Thompson capped it with a solo block to the contest for the fourth time, at 11-all. Thompson struck for one of her nine kills to even the slate at 13 and Baker downed two kills to give Memphis a 16-13 cushion. That lead was short-lived as Samford rattled off six-straight points to take a late 20-17 advantage. The Bulldogs continued to push to a 25-19 win to clinch the match.
Memphis, who falls to 2-10 on the season, will wrap up the Tiger Invitational on Saturday with a doubleheader versus New Orleans (2 p.m.) and UALR (7 p.m.).