Volleyball Moves Into Third Place With Five-Set Thriller Over Marquette
Oct. 30, 2004
MEMPHIS, Tenn. -
MARQUETTE (15-6; 5-3 C-USA) 30 21 17 32 13 MEMPHIS (22-7; 6-2 C-USA) 20 30 30 30 15
The University of Memphis volleyball team claimed sole possession of third place with a thrilling five-game (20-30, 30-21, 30-17, 30-32, 15-13) win over Marquette Friday at the Elma Roane Fieldhouse. The Tigers got 21 kills from senior Tiara Gilkey and junior middle blocker Fehi Tuivai blocked 10 total Marquette attacks as the Tigers snap Marquette's six-match winning streak.
"I am so proud of the way the team stayed focused. Stayed positive and stuck with the game plan," said head coach Carrie Yerty. "Heather (Watts ran a great offense and Fehi (Tuivai) was big for us with 10 blocks. Kristen Hardee gave us a much-needed lift off the bench."
It looked as if Marquette was gaining momentum for a game-five win when the Golden Eagles took a 9-6 lead. But Memphis stormed back with a 4-0 run to take a 10-9 lead, which they would never relinquish. After Marquette tied the match at 10, Memphis responded with three unanswered points to take a commanding 13-10 advantage, before Ashley Liford downed her fifth kill of the match to clinch the 15-13 win.
The Tigers came out of the gates slow and hit just .088 in the first game. Memphis was never able to find a rhythm as Marquette raced to a 12-7 lead. Setter Sarah Vernon put down six kills and hit 1.000 in the first game as the Golden Eagles claimed a 30-20 win.
Memphis solved the Marquette offense and held the Golden Eagles to a .088 hitting percentage to even the slate at 1-1 in game two. Tiara Gilkey led the Tigers, who hit .371 in the game, with six kills in as many attempts. Junior outside Kristen Hardee came off the bench and provided the Tiger offense with four kills and just one error. Marquette took an 8-6 lead, but Memphis surged ahead 15-11, with a 9-4 run. Memphis increased its lead to nine, 27-18, on a kill by Melissa Nance. Nance finished with 10 kills.
The Tigers held the Golden Eagles to a -.119 clip in game three on their way to a 30-17 route. Tuivai and Hardee came up big for Memphis, with four and three assisted blocks each. Memphis carried its game two momentum in the third set and jumped out to a 7-2 advantage after a block solo from Tuivai. Assisted blocks by Gilkey and Tuivai capped a 7-0 spurt put Memphis in control 14-3. Memphis finished the game with its largest lead.
Marquette salvaged game four to force the deciding game. Memphis looked to be poised to wrap the match up in four games as they took a 9-4 lead early on. Marquette then scored eight of the next 10 points to take a12-11 lead. The Golden Eagles led by five at 27-22 before Memphis made a run in efforts to claim the game. A service ace by Christen Clayton followed by a kill by Nancy Nellans highlighted an 8-2 run that put Memphis up 30-29. Marquette scored the final three points to win the game and force game-five.
Memphis got a double-double of 17 kills and 15 digs from Nellans, while liberos Emily Steckel and Clayton finished with 15 and 12 digs each. Heather Watts put up 68 assists on the night and the Memphis defense posted 13.5 blocks.
Erica Heisser (14), Vernon (13) and Kimberley Todd (12) each put down double digits in kills for Marquette. Vernon hit .400 in the match and finished with 45 assists.
Memphis will now prepare for a matchup with DePaul on Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Elma Roane Fieldhouse.