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 and eventually took the set 15-13.
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.”
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.