Volleyball Sweeps USF to Improve to 21-2
Oct. 18, 2003
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - With four players in double-digit scoring and kills, the University of Memphis volleyball team used a multi-faceted offense to sweep the visiting USF Bulls, 3-0 (30-19, 30-23, 35-33). The win ups the Tigers' record to 21-2 overall and 4-1 in Conference USA and drops USF to 9-14 and 2-3 in league play.
Tiger sophomore Nancy Nellans (South Bend, Ind./St. Joseph) continued to be a terminator for Memphis, downing 19 kills and adding one service ace and nine digs for a team-leading 20.5 points. Junior Tiara Gilkey (Creve Coeur, Mo./Pattonsville) added 15 points, including 12 kills, seven digs and four total blocks, including two solos. One of Gilkey's solo blocks allowed Memphis to pull back to 33-33 with USF in game three. Senior Brittany Barnett (Dallas, Texas/Lake Highlands) added 12 kills and a .304 attack percentage, while adding a service ace and a block. Shella Neba (Aurora, Colo./St. Mary's) was the final Tiger to score in the double-digits, downing 10 kills on 16 swings for a .438 attack percentage, while adding three blocks.
"This has been an awesome weekend for us," Head Coach Carrie Yerty said. "I think the girls are just really excited to be playing at home and are feeling really confident."
Game one opened with Memphis making a concerted effort to get its middles involved early. Freshman Melissa Nance (Frankfort, Ind./Clinton Prairie) downed two of Memphis' first three kills before Neba then went to work against the USF defense. Memphis hit .528 in game one, downing 23 kills, while holding USF to just 10 kills on 30 swings (.167).
The Memphis offensive juggernaut kept rolling in game two, hitting .256, but downing 19 kills, including six from Neba.
In game three, Memphis found themselves down early, sometimes by as many as six points, but the Tigers remained focused and weathered USF middle hitter Shameka Mitchell's attempt to steal the third game. Mitchell downed eight kills in the third game, finishing with a game-high 21.
"We knew going into the locker room that USF would come out and play tough after the first two games," Yerty said. "But we just focused on see-sawing and cutting into the deficit and followed our game plan. And Nancy really stepped up. She has wanted to be a go-to player for us, and in the third game, she definitely was."
Nellans downed eight of her 19 kills in the third and deciding game.
Tiger setter Heather Watts (Salt Lake City, Utah/Skyline) also moved up in Tiger history. With her 48 assists Saturday night, Watts moves into third place in school history with 2,686 assists, just 91 shy of Nikki Taylor's mark of 2,777.
"Heather did a great job of spreading our offense around tonight," Yerty said. "She probably set one of the best games of her career here tonight."
USF's Bonnye Glover added 12 kills, while Melayne Wootan finished with 39 assists.
Memphis rounds out its four-match home stand with a non-conference match against Ole Miss, Tuesday night at 7 p.m. That match will be Youth Night, where all youth under the age of 18 will be admitted free of charge. USF returns home and will host TCU and Houston next weekend, starting with a Friday match against TCU.