Memphis Drops C-USA Road Opener to Southern Miss, 3-0
Sept. 30, 2011
Marija Jovanovic and 14 kills by Altrese Hawkins, the University of Memphis volleyball team (13-3, 2-2) dropped a 3-0 decision (18-25;23-25;18-25) to Southern Miss (7-8; 1-2) in its Conference USA road opener.
"Nobody ever said winning was easy," Memphis head coach April Jauregui said. "We know this year the conference will be a battle for positions, and every match is important. We have to fight every point for every ball."
Southern Miss jumped out to a 5-2 advantage early, but a kill by A. Hawkins and an error by the Golden Eagles allowed Memphis to claw back to make it 5-4. Southern Miss then went on a 5-1 run to make it 10-5 and force Memphis to call a timeout.
The Tigers fought back to close the gap 13-9, but the Golden Eagles attack, which registered 18 kills in the set, proved to be too much. Southern Miss went on to close the set out 25-18. Hawkins led the Tigers in the set with three kills, while Jovanovic, Lauren Hawkins and Katie Meyer all registered two.
Memphis came out strong in the second set, opening up a 4-1 advantage behind two kills from A. Hawkins and the first career solo block by Alexis Wesley. The Tigers extended that lead to 7-2 behind two errors from Southern Miss and a kill by Jovanovic.
The Golden Eagles responded with a 5-1 run to make it 8-7 before Memphis went on a 6-2 run to make it 13-9 and force Southern Miss to take a timeout. The Golden Eagles tied the set for the first time after a block netted the score at 15 and would take their first lead on a kill that made it 18-17. The two teams traded points before Southern Miss took the lead for good 22-21.
With Memphis trailing in the set 24-21, the Golden Eagles made two-straight errors to make the score 24-23. Southern Miss put it away on the next point, however, taking the set 25-23. A. Hawkins led the Tigers in the second set with eight kills in 17 attempts, while Hajnalka Molnar contributed 14 assists.
The third set proved to be a battle that featured 14 ties and two lead changes. Southern Miss took an early 3-1 lead, but back-to-back kills from Jovanovic netted the set at three. The teams would go back and forth trading points, as neither team led by more than one, until two-straight Southern Miss blocks gave the Golden Eagles a 13-15 advantage.
The Tigers used a kill from L. Hawkins and an ace from Vesna Jelic to tie the set at 15. A kill from A. Hawkins again netted the set at 16 before back-to-back blocks from Southern Miss put the Golden Eagles ahead for good. Leading 18-16, Southern Miss closed the set on a 7-2 run to win the set 25-18 and the match, 3-0.
A. Hawkins finished with 14 kills in the loss, while Jovanovic put together a double double of 10 kills and 10 digs. Molnar finished with 33 assists, while L. Hawkins and Jelic each chipped in four kills. L. Hawkins recorded the first two service aces of the season, while Alexis Wesley recorded career highs in kills (2), blocks (3), and total attacks (5).
Halie Ecker (12), Lauren Sears (10) and Ashley Mell (10) all finished with double digit kills for the Golden Eagles. Kelsea Seymour finished with 39 assists, while Lisa Knecht (16) and Elizabeth Rinaudo (13) led Southern Miss in digs.
"As long as we keep learning from every match, we will continue to improve and see progress," Jauregui said. We have to regroup and focus for another battle Sunday against Tulane."
Memphis continues C-USA play on Sunday when it takes on Tulane at 1 p.m.