Volleyball Suffers Five-Game Loss at Southeast Missouri
Sept. 27, 2007
CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. -
Memphis (12-6) 32 18 30 26 12 Southeast Missouri (7-8) 30 30 20 30 15
Ashley Liford slammed a career-best 29 kills, and Sarah Bury added 17 kills, but Memphis was unable to hold off Southeast Missouri is it dropped a five-game decision in non-conference action on Wednesday. The loss was the second straight loss for the Tigers, who fall to 12-6 on the year. Liford's 29 kills is the most by Tiger since Nancy Nellans totaled 29 put-aways against Saint Louis on Oct. 1, 2004.
Despite hitting .320 in the game, Memphis was forced into playing catch-up most of the opening set after Southeast broke an 11-11 tie with a six-point surge that put them up 17-11. SEMO then scored on eight of the next 13 rallies to take what seemed to be a convincing 25-16 lead late in the period. That is when the Tigers turned up their intensity in all facets of the game. Trailing by nine points, libero Christine Bach over-ball found its way down for a kill, igniting 5-0 rally that cut Memphis' deficit to 26-21. The Tigers were able to trim their deficiency by one point before the Redhawks reached game-point at 29-25. With no errors to give, Memphis played flawless volleyball for the next four serves to tie the set at 29-all. Sophomore outside hitter Lauren Thompson pounded one of her two kills of the game to start the comeback, and Bury added a service ace to make it 29-27. Liford, who hammered 10 kills in the frame, then evened the slate at 29-29 with kills on back-to-back rallies. SEMO regained the advantage with a kill, and Memphis was again down to game-point. But a resilient Tiger club bounced back with a kill from Liford, followed by a spike by Kelsey Labrum to regain the lead for the first time since the score was 10-9. Ahead 31-30, Bach, who started the comeback, finished it with a service ace for the 32-30 win. Southeast hit .343 in the opener.
Game two saw the same Tiger team that played the middle portion of game one returned to the floor for the entire period as Memphis never challenged SEMO. The Redhawks took a 10-6 lead early on and then put up a 10-2 surge to double Memphis' output at 20-10. The Tigers were able to cut into the SEMO lead at 22-16, but Southeast was able to finish the contest off and even the match a 1-1 via a 30-18 win. After hammering down 10 kills in game one, Liford put away six more to lead Memphis' offense that hit just .211 in the game on 13 kills. SEMO continued it hot hitting, running at a .400 attacking clip in the set.
Behind six more kills from Liford and three blocks each from Shelby Burton, Laura Côté and Bury, Memphis was able to take a 2-1 lead going into the break. Burton was held to 10 kills and a career-low .172 average. She led the Tiger defense with six blocks. Bury and Côté made five rejections each. A pair of service aces by Bach highlighted a four-point Tiger run that gave them a 14-10 lead. The Tigers maintained a five-point cushion until late in the game. Blocks on three straight serves powered a game-ending 5-0 run.
The UofM again fell behind in the fourth, this time surrendering a 9-3 lead. The Tigers chipped away at the SEMO advantage and used two kills a piece from Thompson and Bury to gain momentum with a 19-16 lead. That lead was short-lived as SEMO responded with a 3-0 run on the strength of a Memphis error, a SEMO block and a service error in successive plays. That push tied the game at 21-all. Holding a 23-22 lead, the Tiger fortunes turned when Liford slipped on a wet spot on the floor as she approached for an attack. That play tied the game at 23-23, SEMO went on the score on seven of the next 10 rallies to force a fifth game.
A pair of Tiger attacking errors helped SEMO score the first three points of the deciding game. They were never able to recover. Memphis, who hit.080 in the finale, went on to commit four more offensive errors to give SEMO a 13-8 lead, and force a timeout. Trailing by five points, Liford crushed three kills in a 4-1 UofM push. However, it was too little too late as the Redhawks were able to hold off any attempt of a Tiger comeback.
Southeast had two players tally 20 or more kills. Aubrey Dondlinger pounded 21 kills and Karleigh DeLong added 20. Both also posted double-doubles with 13 and 11 digs, respectively. DeLong stuffed the stat sheet with four service aces and three blocks. Alyssa Aston also recorded a double-double with 60 assists and 12 digs. Libero Molly Davis led all SEMO players with 15 digs.
Memphis got 15 digs from Bury to complete a double-double night. Backrow players Bach and Becky Shaffer made 14 and 10 digs, respectively.
The Tigers will now try to return to its winning ways on Sunday, Sept. 30, when they travel to Birmingham for a matchup with UAB. Sunday's match is slated for a 1 p.m. first serve and will be aired on CSTV.