Tigers send Seniors Out With 5-set win over Bulls
Nov. 29, 2013
MEMPHIS, Tenn. – The Memphis volleyball team (15-17, 6-11 The American) finished the season on a high note with an impressive 5-set victory over the USF Bulls (17-15, 11-7 The American) 23-25, 26-24, 25-22, 23-25, 15-13. Junior libero Aleksandra Petronijevic highlighted the evening with a 22 dig performance, breaking the single season-record for most digs in Memphis history, finishing the year with 645.
The Tigers opened the match with back-to-back service aces by senior Viktorija Teivane, eventually taking a quick 4-0 lead. The Bulls tied the game up at 6-6 and from there the teams battled for a lead, with neither side gaining more than a three point lead. With the score tied at 23-23 the Bulls scored two quick points to take the first set 25-23.
The Tigers jumped out to another 4-0 lead in the second set, this time maintaining their lead into the middle of the set when a 4-0 run from the Bulls tied the score at 16-16. The teams traded points into extra time, as the Tigers eventually took the hard fought set 26-24.
Coming out the break, the third set was close throughout; with the biggest lead coming when Memphis took a 24-20 lead. After a small run by the Bull the Tigers finished off the set 25-22. The Bulls took an early 3-1 lead in the fourth set, eventually extended lead to 16-10, a 6-2 run helped the Tigers cut the deficit before eventually tying the set at 21-21. USF eventually finished on top of a close 25-23 score to push the match to a deciding fifth set.
The Bulls took a 7-2 lead early in the 15-point set, but the Tigers rallied for 4-straight points to make the score 7-6 in favor of the Bulls. The Bulls pulled ahead again, taking an 11-8 lead, but again the Tigers rallied to tie the score at 11-11. Memphis took their second lead of the set, and first since the opening point, at 13-12 with a service ace from a recently subbed in Lindsey Purvis. A Bulls attack error followed by a kill the Tigers a 14-13 lead. After opening the scoring in the match, Teivane closed things with a kill from the back row as the senior gave the Tigers the set at 15-13 and the match at 3-2.
Petronijevic tallied 23 digs on the night, giving her 645 on the year, breaking the record of 641 set by Christen Clayton in 2006. Petronijevic recently broke the single-game record Wednesday when the libero pulled out 38 digs against UCF Knights. The junior now has the first, third and 10th most digs in a season, joining Christine Bach as the only two Tigers to hold three spots in the top-10.
“It means a lot to to have broken both records,” Petronjevic said. “Volleyball has been such a big part of my life for so many years and I’m thankful for the opportunity to continue playing.”
Petronijevic will enter her senior season with 1618 career digs. She already ranks No. 3 on the career list and needs only 195 digs during the 2014 season to break Clayton's current program record for career digs.
Memphis closes their first year in the American Athletic Conference with a 15-17 record overall while going 7-11 in conference play.
Lauren Hawkins finished 2013 with 325 kills, a 2.95 per set average. Freshman Catlin Lilly totaled 283 during her first year in blue and gray. Alexis Wesley finished her impressive sophomore year with 256 kills and a team best 112 blocks. Petronijevic ended the year with a team best 30 service aces.