Tiger Volleyball Outlasts TCU in Five to Advance to Semifinals
Nov. 20, 2004
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -
#5 MEMPHIS (27-9) 30 23 25 31 15 #4 TCU (21-9) 24 30 30 29 13
Memphis avenged a 3-2 loss it suffered at the hands of TCU just nine days ago, edging the Horned Frogs 3-2 to advance to the semifinal round of the 2004 ChevronTexaco C-USA Volleyball Tournament. Heather Watts handed out 61assists, had 12 digs and downed eight kills, while Tiara Gilkey hammered a team-high 19 kills to lead the Tigers to a come-from-behind victory. Memphis will now face tournament favorite, Louisville on Sun., Nov. 21 at 5 p.m. (EST).
Memphis jumped ahead 4-1 in the deciding game and never looked back on their way to advancing to the semifinals for the second straight year. A kill by Tiara Gilkey gave the Tigers an 8-4 lead as the teams changed sides of the net. The Frogs cut the deficit to one point at 13-12, but Gilkey pushed the lead back to two with her 17th kill of the contest. A Tiger service error closed the score to 14-13, but Gilkey again answered with the match winning kill for the 15-13 win.
Down two games to one, Memphis staged a comeback that would eventually earn them the win. The Tigers opened game four with a 5-0 advantage. Ahead 11-7, Memphis then scored six straight points to take a commanding 17-7 lead. The U of M led 20-10 and the game seemed to be all but over before TCU responded by scoring 17 of the next 24 points, including a 12-3 spurt that tied the match at 27. The Tigers held strong through a pair of ties at 28 and 29, but never let go of the lead. However, consecutive kills by Fehi Tuivai and Nancy Nellans wrapped the set up, sending the match to the deciding game.
Memphis took the matches early lead with a 30-24 win in the first frame. The Tigers, who hit .304 in the game, took control of the game with a 6-2 run that put them ahead 17-13. Memphis stretched the lead to 27-20 before finishing the match off.
TCU dominated the Tigers in both games two and three to go ahead 2-1. Game two saw Memphis, who finished the game hitting -.021, trail 9-8 before TCU took eight of the next 12 points for a 17-12 cushion. The Horned Frogs hit .375 en route to a dominating 30-23 win.
Both team battled through 18 ties, with the last coming at 20-20, before TCU went on a 5-0 run to take a 25-20 lead late in the set. That run proved to be the difference in the game at the Memphis was never able to close the five-point gap in a 30-25 loss.
Watts broke the C-USA all-time single season mark for total assists with her 61 assists. The previous mark was 1,792 assists, which she set last season.
The Tigers hit just .180 in the contest, but had four players reach double-digits in kills. Led by Gilkey's 19, Memphis got 18 kills from Nellans, 16 from Melissa Nance and 11 from Tuivai.
"I am so proud of these ladies," said head coach Carrie Yerty. "The stayed composed throughout the match, and stayed strong in the crunch time. Our seniors were gave us great leadership. Heather (Watts) ran a great offense and Tiara (Gilkey) gave us kills when we needed them the most. It is fitting that she downed the final two kills of the match."