October 13, 2017

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee at Martin volleyball team battled tonight but could not find a rhythm in a 3-0 setback (21-25, 23-25, 16-25) at Ohio Valley Conference preseason favorite Belmont.

Senior Kelly Lean tallied her third double-double of the season with team-highs of 10 assists and 10 digs for the Skyhawks (9-11, 3-4 OVC) this evening. Hannah Phillips led the way for UT Martin with seven kills while Brooke Gyori (nine digs) and Justine Walker (five blocks) guided the Skyhawk defense.

The first set included 10 tie scores and three lead changes. A service ace by Gyori provided UT Martin with its first lead of the night at 7-6 as both sides could not extend its lead past two points until midway through the stanza. The Bruins went on a 4-0 run to go on top by a 16-12 margin but a pair of Phillips rally killers helped the Skyhawks pull within two points at 19-17. Belmont followed with five of the next six points and UT Martin would not get any closer than three points for the remainder of the set.

Lean gathered seven digs in the opening set but the Skyhawks could only muster eight kills to Belmont’s 19.

The Bruins began the second set with five unanswered points but UT Martin fought back and held a lead for a good portion of the stanza. Megan Fair perfectly placed back-to-back service aces during a 7-1 Skyhawk run that evened the score at 11-all. Belmont came right back with four straight points but UT Martin accounted for eight of the next nine points, as back-to-back Hayley Gray kills spurred a surge that resulted in a 19-16 Skyhawk advantage. UT Martin led as late as 22-21 but the Bruins put together a comeback – scoring four of the final five points of the set.

The Skyhawk offense once again struggled in the second set, hitting .000 with nine kills and nine errors.

Gray got UT Martin off to a good start in the third set, as she secured two kills during the Skyhawks’ early 3-2 lead. However, Belmont roared back for a 10-2 run that put UT Martin in a 12-5 hole. Kenzie Hinshaw (kill), Phillips (kill) and Lean (service ace) scored points on three straight possessions for the Skyhawks to make the score 18-12 but UT Martin could not pull any closer than six points the rest of the way.

The Skyhawks committed only four attack errors in the final set but could not slow down a Belmont offense that generated 15 kills on a .367 hitting percentage.

UT Martin will look to get back in the win column on Saturday, Oct. 14 when it rounds out a four-match road trip at OVC foe Tennessee State. The match is slated to start at 1 p.m.

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