Jovanovic's 24 Kills Leads Memphis to 3-1 Victory at UTEP
Oct. 22, 2010
EL PASO, Texas -
Memphis (13-8, 4-5 C-USA) 25 25 17 25 UTEP (12-10, 4-5 C-USA) 23 20 25 21
"Marija (Jovanovic) played a solid game with her attack and block," said Memphis head coach April Jauregui. "It is nice to pick up a win when we have had to make a lineup change. Like I told the team this week it is a battle in this Conference. To pick up a solid win especially on a long road trip is the momentum we need going into this last stretch of season."
The win snapped a two-match losing streak to the Miners and improves the Tigers to 13-8 overall, 4-5 in C-USA play. UTEP falls to 12-10, 4-5 in league action with its third-straight loss.
Jovanovic torched the Miner defense for a .452 hitting average. Memphis, who hit .296 in the match, also got 14 kills and a .619 attack percentage from middle blocker Altrese Hawkins. Vesna Jelic downed 10 kills.
Christine Bach picked up a match-high tying 11 digs for the Memphis defense. Jovanovic was productive on the defensive side of the net as well, making four total blocks. Cassidy Hawkins added two blocks solos and three block assists.
The Tigers dominated play in each of the first two sets to take a comfortable 2-0 lead into the intermission. Memphis hit .371 in the first and .323 in the second. After dropping the third set, the U of M bounced back to hit .379 and clinch the victory. Memphis took control of the contest early in the first set. After trailing 2-1, Altrese Hawkins sandwiched a pair of kills around a strike from Jovanovic to give the Tigers a 4-2 advantage. They never trailed for the remainder of the set. Memphis extended its lead to 7-3 on consecutive kills by Jovanovic, Jelic and Hawkins. Hajnalka Molnar's aces capped a four-point rally to put the U of M up by seven. UTEP mounted a comeback and cut the Tiger lead to one point, 19-18. Memphis was able to hold off the late Miner's surge with kills from three kills Jovanovic and another from Jelic for a 23-19 cushion. But UTEP would not go down easily, rallying for three straight points. Hawkins' seventh kill of the frames clinched the first set victory, 25-23.
After playing to a 4-4 tie in the second, Memphis got kills from Jelic, Altrese Hawkins and Molnar, followed by assisted blocks by Hawkins and Katlin Inglish for an 8-4 lead. UTEP trimmed the Memphis lead to 11-8 midway through, but the Tigers responded with five-straight points to take control of the situation, 16-8. Jovanovic fueled the rally with two kills and a block assist, while Cassidy Hawkins added a block solo and block assist. Memphis led by eight on two occasions, but just like the first set, UTEP fought back to make it a close set with a 9-3 run that cut the Memphis lead to 22-20. However, the Tigers finished strong and took a 2-0 lead after Jelic struck for two kills and the Memphis defense forced a UTEP attack error for the 25-20 final.
Memphis struggled in the third set, hitting just .100, while UTEP hit a scorching .400. With the set knotted at 3-all, the Miners scored on five of the next six serves to take an 8-4 lead. The Tiger could not play any closer than three points as UTEP converted on 83% of its side-out opportunities. Trailing 17-14, Memphis saw UTEP score three straight to take a six-point advantage. The Miners finished the period with their largest lead, 25-17.
The Tigers capped the night with a strong performance in the fourth. They fell behind 6-4, but got a kill by Jovanovic to ignite a six-point rally. After the sophomore right side hitter's strike, Molnar added an ace, Inglish and Jovanovic down consecutive kills and Cassidy Hawkins teamed up with Jovanovic for a block to give Memphis a 10-6 lead. An attack error by the UTEP offense gave the Tigers a 17-11 cushion and forced a Miner timeout. UTEP forced Memphis into a pair of attack errors to cut the U of M lead to 18-16, but the Tigers answered with the next four points behind a kill and an ace by Molnar. Ahead 24-17, UTEP put together a late run to cut the Memphis lead to 24-21, but the Tigers forced a hitting error to wrap up the match, 25-21.
The Tigers will now make the long trek to Orlando, Fla., for a Sunday afternoon matchup versus UCF. First serve is slated for Noon at The Venue at UCF.