Volleyball Sweeps Day Two Action at UAB/Samford Invitational
Sept. 20, 2008
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -
Memphis (10-4) 25 25 25 Chattanooga 23 18 19
Memphis volleyball wrapped up the UAB/Samford Invitational on a positive note, winning a thrilling five-set contest over Florida International and then sweeping past Chattanooga in the nightcap.
The Tigers battled through to a tough set one win but then cruised to the victory win controlling wins in the second and third.
With the set tied at 22 late in the first frame, Tiger outside hitter Lauren Thompson struck for a kill. From there it was senior setter Laura Côté and freshman Carolyn Baker. The duo teamed up for a block and Baker connected with a Côté set to wrap up the game 25-23.
Memphis trailed 7-8 early in set two, but Katlin Inglish downed three straight kills to fuel a dominant six-point run that put the U of M ahead comfortably, 13-8. With momentum on their side the Tigers continued to push the lead to as many as eight after Thompson put away a kill. Chattanooga never threatened in 25-18 win.
The Mocs opened the third set with three consecutive aces, but Memphis quickly erased its deficit with a strike by Rebekah Strickland and a pair of kills from Inglish to claim a 6-5 advantage. A block by Emily Underwood and Côté put Memphis up for good in a seven-point triumph.
Tiger libero Christine Bach picked up 23 digs in the contest.
Florida International (10-3) 25 22 26 20 12 Memphis (9-4) 21 25 24 25 15
In the first match, the University of Memphis volleyball team fell behind 2-1, but 15 kills from Strickland and Thompson combined with 25 digs by Bach fueled a 3-2 comeback win over Florida International in day two of the UAB/Samford Invitational, Saturday afternoon.
The five-set battle showcased the country's leader in kills--FIU's Yarimar Rosa--and the nation's top blocker--Memphis' Underwood. Neither player disappointed as Rosa struck for a match-high 24 kills and Underwood led all players with 10 total blocks.
After sending the match to a fifth set, Memphis used a three-point push to take a 4-3 lead. The Tiger never trailed again, and after one of Baker's five kills, led 14-12. Strickland and Baker then teamed up for a block to seal the victory.
Trailing two-games-to-one, Memphis refused to back down to an FIU squad that has received votes in the top 25 polls in the early season. The Panthers raced out 10-4 advantage to force a U of M timeout. The Tigers regrouped and got a kill from Inglish, a block by Thompson and an ace by Inglish to cut into the FIU lead. Inglish finished the afternoon with nine kills. Thompson connected on a pair of kills around an ace by Underwood to cap a 7-1 run to knot the set at 11. The contest then saw three ties before Underwood stuffed a Panther attack and then teamed with Inglish for another block to put Memphis on top 17-15. A kill by Baker made it 22-19 and the Tigers were able to hold on to force a deciding game. The Memphis offense hit .323 in the fourth.
Memphis never led in the opener and was held to a .086 clip offensively. A service ace by Underwood midway through kept the Tigers within striking distance at 15-14. That's when Rosa struck for kills on each of the next three serves to give the Panthers an 18-14 cushion late. Memphis closed the gap to 20-17 on a kill by Thompson, but that would be as close as it would come in a 25-21 loss.
The tides were turned in the second period as Memphis took its first lead at 6-5 after an attack error by FIU. Consecutive terminations by Thompson and Casey Sines broke an 11-11 tie to give Memphis a two-point lead. The Tigers continued to push to a 24-20 lead on a Thompson strike. FIU put the pressure on Memphis and cut the Tiger lead to 24-22. But Thompson again stepped up to put away the set.
Memphis looked as if it would go up 2-1 in the third after taking what seemed to be a commanding 20-13 lead. FIU had other plans, staging a 13-4 rally to complete a 26-24 come-from-behind win.
Setter Côté paced the Tiger offense with 46 assists. The Memphis defense came up big with 15 blocks in the contest.