Volleyball Falls 3-2 to No. 22 Louisville
Oct. 31, 2003
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Despite trailing 2-0, the University of Memphis volleyball team (25-3, 6-2 C-USA) came back to force a fifth and deciding game in a Conference USA match against No. 22 Louisville, Friday, in the Elma Roane Fieldhouse.
But starting down 3-0 in the fifth game proved crucial, as the Cardinals picked up the game five win, 15-11, to win the match 3-2. With the win, Louisville improves to 14-4 overall and 7-1 in C-USA. The win propels Louisville into second place alone in the league standings, behind 8-0 Cincinnati, while dropping Memphis to fifth place in the league standings, half a game behind Southern Miss and Tulane, who each won Friday night.
Memphis came out and was unable to defend against the nationally-ranked Cardinals, as Louisville hit .271 and .219, while Memphis struggled and hit .149 and negative in the first two games. But getting out to a lead in the third game picked up the Tiger players, as did the defense from sophomore outside Nancy Nellans.
"I thought Nancy's defense was incredible tonight," Head Coach Carrie Yerty said. "And Brittany (Barnett) played all-world tonight, like she believed we could win."
Barnett would lead the Tigers with a season-high 26 kills, adding 16 digs and four total blocks, while Nellans added 16 kills and led the team with 22 digs, her 11th double-double of the season. The 22 digs is a career-high for Nellans.
"I thought Louisville gave us opportunities to win this match," Yerty said. "We really challenged their ranking, but unfortunately, starting game five with a couple of errors really put this match out of range. All in all, this was not Tiger volleyball's best night.
Memphis would recover and hang on to the game three win, hitting .326, in a 30-27 victory. And with the momentum from the game three win, the Tigers started downing more balls and finding their way either around or through Louisville blockers, hitting .261 in game four and tallying five blocks of their own. But Louisville would hit .588, with just one hitting error in game five, while Memphis hit .238 with four errors against just nine kills.
Junior outside Tiara Gilkey also turned in a double-double for Memphis, finishing with 15 kills and 11 digs. Heather Watts finished with 67 assists, while Shella Neba added 11 kills. Neba, who was among the top 10 in the conference in attack percentage, actually hit negative in games one and two and only hit .148 for the match.
Lena Ustymenko and Sonja Percan each downed 25 kills for Louisville, while Jennifer Hoffman added 11 kills and led Louisville with 12 block assists. Bing Sun rounded out the double-digit kill players for UL with 10 kills. Candace Cogan led Louisville with 17 digs, while Ustymenko had 15. Louisville buses to St. Louis to face Saint Louis University, Saturday, while Memphis remains at home and welcomes league-leading Cincinnati to the Elma Roane Fieldhouse in a match set to begin at 7 p.m.
All Tiger fans who bring their ticket stubs from the Memphis-East Carolina football game will receive 2-for-1 admission and members of the Tiger football team will be available for autographs from 6:30 - 7:00 p.m.