Volleyball Closes Road Schedule With 3-2 Win
Nov. 8, 2003
CHARLOTTE, N.C - The University of Memphis volleyball team (27-4, 8-3 C-USA) needed to rely on defense and on 16 Charlotte (8-22, 1-10 C-USA) service errors to escape their last C-USA conference regular season road match with a 3-2 win. Memphis came back from a 30-27 first game loss to win games two and three 30-28, 30-27, before Charlotte rallied back to win game four 30-28. Memphis prevailed in game five, 15-11, to complete their C-USA road schedule 6-1. The Tiger offense struggled all evening, hitting just .083 for the match. It was the Tiger defense, with its 104 digs and 14 total blocks, including 10 from senior middle Shella Neba (Aurora, Colo./St. Marys) that allowed the Tigers to remain among the top five in the league race.
For the second straight night, the Tigers got down early in game one, 11-5. But as they did twice against East Carolina on Friday night, the Tigers would rally back, but this time would not tie up the match until 20 all after an 8-3 Tiger run was capped by a Heather Watts' service ace. Memphis would go up two, 22-20 on a pair of Charlotte attack errors, but the 49ers would come back on their senior night and would tie up the match at 22 all by blocking a Nancy Nellans attack. The lead would see-saw all the way to 27 all before Nellans was blocked again and then hit over the block and out of bounds to put Charlotte 29-27. When Charlotte tipped to the middle of the court, the ball dropped and gave Charlotte the game one win, 30-27.
In the second game, Memphis came out and the two teams tangled, altering leads before Memphis wen tup 6-5 on a Watts kill. The Tigers stretched that lead to 17-11 before Charlotte started gaining point-by-point, eventuallypulling to 28-27 by blocking a Tiara Gilkey attack. The Tigers' answered back with a Barnett and Shella Neba block to go back to 29-27, but Barnett was called on an attack error on a joust to make the score 29-28. When Gilkey slammed the ball to the middle of the court behind two other Tiger hitters, Memphis made the match 1-1 with a 30-28 win.
Game three started tight, with both teams tied at eight apiece when a Charlotte service error put Memphis up 9-8. The Tigers would take advantage of 49er errors in both serving and offense to run the lead out to 19-11 when a Gilkey service error a 7-4 Charlotte run that pulled the team to 23-19. Gilkey downed one of her four kills in game three to end the run 24-19, and Memphis put the 49ers away 30-27 on a Barnett kill to go up 2-1.
Memphis put themselves in a hole again in game four, falling behind by as many as five a number of times throughout the fourth game. The Tigers did pull back and take a lead and appeared to be completing yet another come-from-behind win, but this time the 49ers weathered not only the Tiger attacks, but blocked Nellans on game point to cap an exciting 30-28 win.
The fifth game was a high-stress one, with Memphis shooting out to a 4-0 lead before Charlotte called its first time out in the fifth game. But Charlotte went on a 4-1 run to pull within 5-4 by tooling a kill of the Tiger block, forcing Memphis to call its first time-out in game five. Barnett downed one of her 15 kills to end the 49er run and put Memphis up 6-4, and a pair of Fehi Tuivai and Gilkey kills made it 8-4. But as they had done in game four, the 49ers would answer back with a kill of their own. Both teams were tired and neither was able to terminate a ball, as the 49ers drove a down ball into the net to give Memphis a 10-5 lead. When Watts won a joust the crowd felt was a lift, Memphis went up 11-5. But again, the 49ers would come back to 13-11, this time with the match on the line. When one of Charlotte's 16 service errors sailed long, Memphis had game point, which Memphis converted with a Gilkey and Neba block assist.
The Tigers had three players in double-digit kills, while five tallied double-digit digs. Gilkey led all players with 25 kills, while Barnett had 15 kills and 15 digs. Nellans posted another double-double, with 12 kills and 16 digs. Freshman Christen Clayton led the defense with digs with 22, while Watts also cleared the 20-dig mark.
Abbey Szlanfucht led Charlotte with 16 kills, while Danielle Miller had 21 digs. In all, Charlotte had 98 digs with 12.5 blocks. The Tigers return home for their regular season finale against Tulane, Friday, and Southern Miss, Saturday.