Saint Louis Sweeps Tigers in C-USA Volleyball
Oct. 5, 2002
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - The University of Memphis volleyball team (13-5, 0-1 C-USA) saw its nine-match win streak come to an end against Conference USA foe Saint Louis (12-6, 2-0 C-USA) in the Tigers' conference opener, Saturday. Neither team could point to their offense as the deciding factor, as Saint Louis' .100 hitting percentage in game three was a game-high. The Billikens hit .079 for the game, while the Tigers hit .038.
"We can say we did a great job in our blocking game and that we somewhat neutralized Colleen Hunter," Head Coach Carrie Yerty said. "But we did not terminate any balls. Anytime you miss that many opportunities, you're going to have trouble winning."
Game one appeared to have some Tiger momentum, as Memphis battled back from an early deficit to tie the game at four, keeping the lead until Saint Louis tied the game at 27 apiece on a Tiger attack error. The Tigers retook the lead, 28-27, but a Tiara Gilkey (Saint Louis, Mo./Pattonsville) attack error sailed out of bounds to tie the game back up at 28 and a Ember Knobeloch and Missy Werges block of a Brittany Barnett (Dallas, Texas/Lake Highlands) attack gave the Billikens the first game 30-28. Both Werges and Knobeloch finished with five total blocks apiece in the Billikens second conference road win of the season.
Game two remained knotted early and often, with both teams at nine when Memphis went up 12-9 on one of Gilkey's team-leading 12 kills. But a senior-laden Billikens squad showed their maturity by battling back to tie the game again at 15. A Nan Kimbrell (Lafayette, La./Episcopal School of Acadiana) attack error gave the Billikens a 16-15 lead, which SLU ran out to a 19-15 lead before an Ashley Green (Indianapolis, Ind./Brebeuf) kill stopped the momentum. The two teams battled to 23-18, Saint Louis, when Memphis again began to cut into the lead, narrowing it to 26-24. But a Knobeloch block of freshman Kristen Hardee (Sante Fe, Texas/Sante Fe), a service ace on the Tigers' pass-receive and a Tiger attack error quickly made the score 29-24, Saint Louis. But this time, the Tigers did not fold, with Kimbrell downing one of her three kills to lead a Tiger rally. Memphis followed that kill with a kill from Green and a pair of Billiken attack errors to pull to 29-28. But an overpassed ball on a scramble sat right atop the net at center court for Knobeloch, who downed the ball for one of her 11 kills to give the Billikens a 30-28 game two win.
Game three was one in which the Tigers tried to play catch-up. Memphis won points on broken plays, but could not get their offense to function, hitting .040 in the third and deciding game. The Billikens took the momentum of the two game lead to hit a game-best .100 to win the game, 30-27.
"Saint Louis has six seniors on its roster and they really showed their maturity today," Yerty said. "Neither team can walk out of here and say they played their best game, but now we've got to come back Monday and get ready to face Ole Miss."
SLU setter Beth Middendorf led the Billikens with 25 assists, while Colleen Hunter led the team with six total blocks and 12 digs, missing another triple double by just four blocks. Hunter also led the Billikens with three service aces.
The Tigers were led by Gilkey's 12 kills. Gilkey, playing against her former Saint Louis Elite Club Volleyball Coach (Colleen Hunter), also led the Tigers with 10 digs. Freshman Lauren Berg (Indianapolis, Ind./Cathedral) also had 10 digs in the loss. Junior Shella Neba (Aurora, Colorado/St. Mary's) led the Tigers with five total blocks.
Memphis hits the road for a non-conference match at Ole Miss, Tuesday, and returns to C-USA play over the weekend, hosting Houston, Friday, and TCU, Saturday. Saint Louis returns home after picking up two important C-USA road wins to host TCU, Friday, and Houston, Saturday.