VOLLEYBALL SQUAD SPLITS DAY ONE OF ALABAMA STATE INVITATIONAL
September 14, 2012
MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The University of Tennessee at Martin volleyball team opened the Alabama State Invitational with a hard-fought 3-1 victory over defending NCAA Tournament participant Jackson State (27-25, 25-21, 13-25, 25-17). In the nightcap of the first day of action, the Skyhawks battled before falling 3-1 to Sun Belt Conference foe North Texas (15-25, 21-25, 25-16, 23-25).
Freshman Lynsey Hazelwood was the offensive leader for the Skyhawks today, recording 27 kills over eight sets – including a career-high 16 kills against Jackson State and a double-double against North Texas (11 kills, 12 digs). Both Brandy Dennis (first career double-double against Jackson State) and Amanda Crask handed out 36 assists apiece this afternoon.
Defensively, freshman Chelsea Bowles scooped up a team-high 34 digs (career-high 28 against Jackson State) while Jackie Harter amassed a team-best six blocks.
"Against Jackson State we adjusted the lineup a bit to get some kids some experience," Skyhawk head coach Darrin McClure said. "We won the match and the main bright spot was the play of Chelsea at libero - she did a real nice job. Against North Texas, we knew we were going to have to play well to win - they are athletic and physical. We dug ourselves an early hole that we couldn't climb out of but I did see a lot of character in us as we fought hard to the end. We didn't give that match away despite the slow start, we made North Texas earn it at the end and they played better to win."
UT Martin will return to action tomorrow, Sept. 15, when it takes on tournament host Alabama State at 1 p.m.
The Skyhawks jumped out to an early 3-0 lead before the Lady Tigers scored five straight points to take a lead. Jackson State would hold a 14-9 advantage until UT Martin scored four straight points – including a pair of kills by Hazelwood – to get within one point. A Hazelwood service ace evened the score at 15-all, but Jackson State would keep the lead and eventually take a 22-19 advantage. Coming out of a Skyhawk timeout, back-to-back kills by Hazelwood made the score 22-21, however UT Martin would soon face a 24-22 deficit. That didn’t faze the Skyhawks, as UT Martin closed out the set on a 5-1 run, capped off by consecutive kills by Taylor Simons.
Hazelwood accounted for six of UT Martin’s 15 kills in the first set, while Dennis (11 assists) and Bowles (10 digs) also guided the Skyhawks.
The Skyhawks shook off a slow start in the second set to take a 7-6 advantage after a Hazelwood kill completed a 5-1 UT Martin run. Jackson State briefly reclaimed the lead before back-to-back kills by Hazelwood tilted the score in the Skyhawks’ favor at 9-8. That ignited a streak of eight unanswered points by UT Martin, including three straight service aces by Shelby Hoskins. An ace by Hazelwood gave the Skyhawks their biggest lead of the set at 19-11, but the Lady Tigers got within three points on four different occasions (including 24-21). However, a kill by Harter ended the set and gave UT Martin a 2-0 lead in the match.
UT Martin hit .250 in the second set, led by six kills by Hazelwood and five by Hoskins. Dennis tallied 15 assists in the second set alone while Bowles led the team with seven digs.
Although Jackson State began the third set on a 5-0 run, the Skyhawks cut their deficit to four thanks to early kills by Hoskins and Simons. UT Martin would trail 11-7 before the Lady Tigers would run off four straight points to take a 15-7 lead. A Jackson State service error and kill by Hazelwood made the score 20-13, but the Lady Tigers wrapped up the set by scoring five unanswered points.
The Skyhawks quickly put the third set behind them and played strong down the stretch in the fourth set. UT Martin trailed 6-4 before a 5-0 run was capped off by a Simons service ace gave the Skyhawks a three-point lead. A stretch of four straight points gave UT Martin a 15-9 advantage, but Jackson State would score three straight to pull within 15-12. The Skyhawks responded with a brief 3-0 run of their own to expand their lead out to 18-12. Jackson State would get within four points (20-16) but that was as close as it would get, as a Simons service ace sealed UT Martin’s victory.
Bowles’ seven digs and Harter’s three blocks in the fourth set proved to be the difference for UT Martin, as the staunch Skyhawk defense held Jackson State to a -.08 attack percentage (nine kills, 12 errors in 35 attempts).
The Mean Green took leads of 5-0 and 7-1 to begin the first set, but the Skyhawks whittled that deficit down to four (8-4) thanks to consecutive kills by Emily Keaton and Crask. Another kill by Crask would get the Skyhawks within three at 10-7, but North Texas would soon put together a 5-0 run that resulted in a 17-8 lead. A late Keaton service ace made the score 22-15 but that was ultimately as close as UT Martin would get the rest of the way.
The Skyhawks turned the tables in the second set, grabbing leads of 5-1 and 7-2 behind service aces by Bowles and Keaton. UT Martin would hold a lead for the majority of the match, pushing its lead out to four points on a half-dozen occasions – including a 20-16 lead off a Crask kill. However, North Texas would score five straight points – taking its first lead of the set at 21-20. A Dallas Zimmerman kill evened the score at 21-all but the Mean Green would tally the final four points of the set.
A total of six Skyhawks had multi-kill performances in the second set, as UT Martin tallied 15 kills. Crask amassed a dozen assists while Kasey Elswick’s eight digs paced the Skyhawks defensively.
UT Martin found itself down 4-2 in the third set, but followed that with a 7-1 run that resulted in a 9-5 advantage. Back-to-back kills by Hazelwood and Keaton pushed the Skyhawk lead out to 11-6, while Harter and Zimmerman also registered consecutive kills to give UT Martin a 14-8 advantage. North Texas pulled within three at 15-12 and 16-13, but the Skyhawks put the set away with a 5-0 run that included a pair of kills by Hazelwood. The Mean Green crept within six at 22-16 before UT Martin was responsible for the final three points of the set.
Hazelwood tallied four kills in the third set for the Skyhawks, who hit .273 in 22 attempts (10 kills, four errors).
Back-to-back kills by Keaton evened the score at 3-all in the fourth set, which featured 12 ties and six lead changes. North Texas led by four points as late as 13-9 before the Skyhawks reeled off four straight points to take a 15-14 advantage. The Skyhawks led as late as 21-20 but the Mean Green scored three straight points to take a two-point lead. UT Martin would slice its deficit to 23-22 and 24-23 but couldn’t extend the set beyond that point.
Keaton had four kills to lead UT Martin, while Crask racked up 12 assists in the fourth set.