Memphis Powers Past UAB 3-1 in Season Finale
Nov. 23, 2011
Altrese Hawkins, Marija Jovanovic and Lauren Hawkins all registered double-digit kills as Memphis powered past UAB 3-1 (15-25;25-20;25-20;25-19) in its season finale. The Tigers finish the 2011 season with a 20-13 overall record and a 9-11 mark in Conference USA.
"As a team, we followed the game plan perfectly, even after a slow start in the first set," Marko Majstorovic said. "We were able to beat a very good UAB team on its home floor."
"While I could not be there for half the conference season due to the arrival of my son Aidan, I did watch every game online and was there in spirit with the team," April Jauregui said. "I am very proud of them for how they finished the season. Tonight was a great win over UAB. I am disappointed the season is ending because I feel we are playing our best volleyball right now. We peaked at the end of the season and such is the reason why I am in support of a conference tournament. I want to take this time to say thank you to my staff coach Marko (Majsotorovic) and coach (James Onikeku) for guiding the team in my absence. We tried to make the transition as smooth as possible. I had complete confidence in them. Marko did an exceptional job being an extension of me as the interim head coach."
Hawkins also registered 14 digs as part of a double-double, while Hajnalka Molnar also had a double-double with 46 assists and 16 digs. Aleksandra Petronijevic totaled a team-best 19 digs on the night, while Katie Meyer chipped in nine kills while hitting .500.
UAB started with a 5-3 advantage in the first set before kills by Molnar and A. Hawkins evened the set at five. The Blazers then used kills from an array of players to take a 12-8 advantage and force Memphis to call timeout. UAB kept its momentum out of the timeout, however, and opened up a 16-11 lead after a kill by Kirsten Gallagher. Two kills from Michele Simmons and one from Kate Morrell pushed the Blazers' lead to 19-13 and forced the Tigers to all another timeout. Memphis would get no closer than 21-15 as UAB closed the set out, 25-15.
Kills by Katie Meyer and Hawkins coupled with two errors by the Blazers allowed Memphis to take an early 4-1 lead in the second set. Despite five errors in the first 12 points, UAB clawed back to tie the set at eight before a kill by Vesna Jelic gave Memphis a 9-8 advantage. The two teams traded points until Memphis regained the lead at 14-13 on a service ace by Petronijevic. Back-to-back UAB errors gave the Tigers a 17-15 advantage before UAB responded with a kill by Morrell to make it 17-16. Two kills by Lauren Hawkins and one by Altrese Hawkins pushed the Memphis lead to 20-18. The Tigers then took a 23-20 lead after a ball handling error by Alison Woods. A kill by Jovanovic closed the set out 25-20.
After trailing 4-2 early in the third set, a kill by L. Hawkins gave Memphis its first lead of the set at 6-5. Another kill by L. Hawkins, a ball handling error by the Blazers and a service ace by L. Hawkins allowed Memphis to open up a 10-6 advantage. UAB came back with two-straight points, but A. Hawkins registered back-to-back kills to help Memphis take a 14-9 lead and force a UAB timeout. Meyer, Jovanovic and A. Hawkins all registered kills as Memphis pushed its lead to 18-11, forcing the Blazers to take another timeout. UAB responded with a 3-0 run out of the timeout, but Jelic ended the run with a powerful kill and gave Memphis a 19-14 lead. A net violation and kills by Jovanovic and Hawkins extended the Memphis advantage to 23-17, and the Tigers went on to close out the set, 25-20.
Memphis again jumped out to a 4-2 advantage in the fourth set, this time fueled by kills from Meyer and A. Hawkins. The Tigers pushed that lead to 10-6 behind a block by Molnar, as well as a kill and ace rfom Jelic. Two more kills from A. Hawkins extended the Memphis advantage to 12-7 and forced a Blaers' timeout. UAB went on a 4-2 run to cut the lead to 14-11, but a service error ended the run and the Tigers led 15-11. The Blazers cut into the lead and made it 17-14 after a Memphis service error and kill by Simmons, but A. Hawkins responded for Memphis to make it 18-14. UAB called a timeout after Memphis took a 20-15 advantage, and cut the lead to 20-17 on back-to-back Memphis errors. A. Hawkins ended the run with a kill and gave the Tigers a 21-17 advantage, but UAB responded with a block to get within three at 21-18. Behind two more kills from Jovanovic, the Tigers closed the set out 25-19 and the match, 3-1.
"I am proud of the girls for how the played, fought and passed for the last month," Majstorovic said. "On one hand, I am glad we will have much-needed rest, but on the other hand, I wish had more games to play and keep improving like we have been."
UAB was led by Morrell (13), Serley (12) and Slaughter (10), who all finished with more than 10 kills. Alison Woods and Becca Howard finished with 23 and 22 assists, respectively for UAB, who finished the season 23-9 overall and 13-7 in C-USA.
"I don't want to single anyone out, but I do want to thank (Vesna) Jelic for everything she's done for this program, teammates and coaches," Majstorovic said.