UAB Blocks Tigers From Victory
Sept. 20, 2011
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Despite two players with double-digit kills, the Memphis women's volleyball team fell in three sets to UAB (17-25, 14-25, 20-25) Tuesday night to open Conference-USA play. The loss snaps a six-match Tiger win streak and gives Memphis an 11-3 overall record this season while UAB improves to 11-2.
Junior Marija Jovanovic led the way for the Tigers with 14 kills while fellow junior Altrese Hawkins recorded 10, moving her past current Tiger head coach April Jauregui and into 18th place all-time in the Memphis record books with 1,019 career putaways. Junior Vesna Jelic led the Tiger defense with 14 digs, but Memphis could not overcome 10 UAB team blocks, hitting just .104 in the match.
The Tigers jumped out to early 5-2 lead in set one, thanks in part to three kills from Hawkins, but a 7-0 Blazer run soon had Memphis on its heels trailing 9-5. Jelic finally ended UAB's streak with a kill down the middle, leading to a back-and-forth battle on the scoreboard. However, a clean attack kept UAB in front as the Blazers hit .364 for the set with just one error to record a 25-17 victory.
Set two was tight from the start as Memphis went toe-to-toe with its conference rivals. The Blazers were finally able to eek out a 10-7 lead after a 4-1 spurt punctuated with a solo block. The Tigers fought back and had two chances to tie the set but were plagued by hitting errors, which allowed UAB to string together an 11-2 run. Trailing 17-10, Memphis simply didn't have enough left in the tank to overtake the charging Blazers, falling 25-14.
Hawkins pounded home a crosscourt kill to begin set three and set the tone for the Tigers, who were soon leading 5-2. However, despite two more kills from Hawkins, UAB strung together a 7-2 run to pull ahead at 9-7. Back-to-back putaways from Jovanovic soon knotted the score, but the Blazers continued to do just enough to stay in front, capitalizing on Memphis miscues and continuing their offensive assault to take a 17-12 lead.
However, energized by an enthusiastic crowd, the Tigers refused to go down without a fight and put together a 7-2 run capitalized by their first block of the night to tie the score at 19-19 and force a UAB timeout. But it was all Blazers out of the break as they quickly put away six of the next seven points to end the Tiger comeback and the match with a 25-20 win.
Conference play continues for the Tigers this weekend as Memphis hosts East Carolina Friday at 7 p.m. and Marshall Sunday at 1 p.m. in the Elma Roane Fieldhouse.