Tiger Volleyball Takes UTEP Down in Three
Sept. 21, 2007
EL PASO, Texas -
Memphis (12-4; 2-0 C-USA) 30 30 30 UTEP (6-7; 0-2 C-USA) 28 24 18
Memphis continued to its strong play this evening with a sweep of UTEP. Tiger middle blocker Shelby Burton was again impressive as she pounded down a match-high 15 kills and made nine blocks.
The Tigers got off to a slow start in the opening frame, and trailed 9-5 after a solo block by the Miner defense. Rebekah Strickland came on and provided an early spark for the Tigers, highlighting a 4-1 run with an assisted block and a kill to cut the UTEP lead to 10-9. A service ace by Becky Shaffer evened the slate at 11-all, and assisted blocks by Burton and Liford gave Memphis its first lead at 12-11. From there, the two squads fought through 11 ties. With the Miners ahead 21-19, Burton put away kills on consecutive plays to again even the slate. UTEP held the advantage with a 27-26 score, but Burton again came up big, slamming her fifth kill of the set, followed by a block to put the Tigers on top 28-27. Liford produced a kill and the UofM defense benefited from a UTEP attack error to take game one 30-28. Memphis hit .389 in the opening frame, while UTEP hit .347. However the Miners did not help their cause, committing six errors from the service line.
Memphis ran off to a 6-1 cushion after Liford made a service ace, Burton and Sarah Bury teamed up for a block and Bury added a kill. Bury finished with eight kills, 10 digs and two blocks. The Tigers extended the lead to 18-10 after another UTEP service error. The Miners made 14 service errors on the night. UTEP would not go away easily, as they made a run at the Memphis lead by scoring on 10 of the next 12 rallies to tie the game at 20-20. The Tiger offense responded with a kill from Burton, and a blocking error by UTEP gave them a two-point cushion. After UTEP tied the contest at 20, Memphis put together a solid 10-4 run to take a 2-0 lead in the match.
Game three saw the Tiger defense stiffen and hold UTEP to -.100 hitting with six blocks. Burton, who crushed six kills in the finale, had five of the six rejections. The set was dominated by Memphis after the Miners scored the first three points of the game. The Tigers answered by scoring the next five to take a 5-3 lead. Consecutive block assists--by Burton and Kelsey Labrum, and Burton and Liford--gave the U of M a six-point lead at 14-8. Memphis pushed ahead 18-10 when Burton hammered kills on consecutive rallies. The Tigers put the game away with spurts of four points and another of three points that gave them an insurmountable 25-13 lead.
Memphis' defense made 11 blocks on the night, including 20 block assists. The Tigers out dug UTEP 45-36 in the match. Christine Back led all players with 13 digs.
Laura Côté set 39 assists for the Memphis offense that hit .330 for the match.
Memphis will now return home for a showdown with Tulane at 1 p.m. on Sun., Sept. 23. The Green Wave sits atop the C-USA standings with a 12-2 mark.