Memphis Volleyball Clips Rice, 3-2
Nov. 5, 2010
Memphis (15-10, 6-7 C-USA) 25 21 25 13 25 Rice (14-12, 9-5 C-USA) 18 25 12 25 12
Vesna Jelic and Hajnalka Molnar picked up their team-leading sixth double-doubles of the year and Altrese Hawkins added a match-best 20 kills to power a strong all-around performance for Memphis, as the Tigers outlasted Rice, 3-2, in C-USA action Friday night at Tudor Fieldhouse.
"Tonight was an up and down match," said Tiger head coach April Jauregui. "It was really about who had control. Going into the fifth set, I knew that if we could control the match from the service line, we would come away with the victory. Both Vesna (Jelic) and Hajnalka (Molnar) provided valuable points with their serve. That was really a key difference. I am glad to pick up a win against the third-place team in the conference."
The Tigers, who improve to 15-10 overall and 6-7 in C-USA play, have now won five of its six matches that have gone the distance. With the win, Memphis earns a split of the season series with Rice. The Owls defeated the Tigers 3-1, in Memphis, on October 17, 2010. The triumph also snapped a three-match skid to Rice.
Jelic connected for 11 kills and picked up a career-high 20 digs for Memphis, which battled to its third-straight five-set contest and its second consecutive 3-2 victory. Jelic, Conference USA's leader in service aces, added four aces. Molnar set 44 assists to go with 16 digs. Hawkins put together her third-straight 20-kill outing.
The Memphis attack did not stop with the trio of Hawkins, Jelic and Molnar. Sophomore Marija Jovanovic downed 17 kills and hit a robust .341 for the Tiger offense, while libero Christine Bach and defensive specialist Becky Shaffer combined for 29 digs for the U of M defense. The Tigers defense was stingy, holding the Owls to a .172 clip.
With the contest deadlocked at 2-2, Memphis jumped out to a 4-1 lead on the strength of an ace by Jelic and a pair of kills by Hawkins. Rice battled back to knot the set at 6-6. With the score tied at 8-all, the Tigers went on a five-point run to put the match away. Hawkins fueled the run with three kills, while Jelic added another ace. With a 14-9 lead in hand, Rice staged a small rally to close the gap to 14-11. However the Tigers lead was enough and Hawkins connected for her 20th kill of the night to end the match.
The two clubs alternated sets, with Memphis winning the opener and taking a 2-1 lead after a convincing 25-12 victory in the third. Rice came back to tie the match with a dominant performance in game four. Memphis could not find the rythm to finish the match off and hit just -.086 in the set.
Memphis will look to make it three-in-a row on Sunday, when it takes on the Houston Cougars at Athletics/Alumni Center. First serve is slated for 1 p.m.