November 2, 2016

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MARTIN, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee at Martin volleyball team returns to the road this weekend when it travels to Ohio Valley Conference rivals Eastern Illinois on Friday, Nov. 4 and SIUE on Saturday, Nov. 5. First serve at Eastern Illinois is scheduled for 7 p.m. while the SIUE match will start at 2 p.m.

With two weeks remaining in the regular season, the Skyhawks (7-20, 3-9 OVC) are currently in a three-way tie for ninth place in the league standings, just two games out of the projected eight-team tournament field.

UT Martin will go for season splits against each team this weekend, as the Skyhawks fell by 3-1 margins to both Eastern Illinois (25-23, 24-26, 13-25, 18-25) and SIUE (18-25, 25-23, 11-25, 16-25) earlier this year. Jemima Idemudia paced UT Martin with 27 kills (3.38 per set) and 12 blocks (1.50 per set) in those two matches while Kelly Lean (78 assists, 9.75 per set) and Colleen Larson (34 digs, 4.25 per set) also performed well for the Skyhawks.

This past weekend, UT Martin squared off against two of the top teams in the OVC – falling 3-0 to Austin Peay (18-25, 22-25, 18-25) and Murray State (20-25, 19-25, 15-25). Idemudia (15 kills) and Larson (18 digs) once again paced the Skyhawk offense and defense, respectively.

Idemudia ranks fifth in the OVC in blocks (1.12 per set) and 10th in points (3.44 per set). Lean’s 9.74 assists per set is the third highest total in the league while Larson’s 3.64 digs per set ranks 10th in the conference.

Eastern Illinois (5-22, 2-10 OVC) has won one of its last eight decisions and is winless in 10 home matches this season. The Panthers lost 3-0 to SIUE (15-25, 13-25, 12-25) and 3-0 at Tennessee State (8-25, 23-25, 13-25) during last week’s action. Maria Brown leads Eastern Illinois with 231 kills (2.26 per set) while Lindsey Powers (326 digs, 3.33 per set) and Abby Knight (93 blocks, 0.96 per set) guide Eastern Illinois defensively.

SIUE (17-6, 10-2 OVC) is riding a six-match winning streak, dropping only three sets in that span. Taylor Joens ranks first in the OVC in hitting percentage (.318) while averaging a team-high 2.84 kills per set for the Cougar offense. Katie Shashack (4.64 digs per set) and Carley Ramich (1.19 blocks per set) lead an SIUE defense that leads the OVC in opponent hitting percentage (.137).

Both matches this weekend will be streamed live, free of charge, on the OVC Digital Network. Those links - along with links for live stats - can be found at the top of the webpage.

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