UTM VOLLEYBALL RETURNS HOME FOR A PAIR OF 'PINK OUT' OVC MATCHES THIS WEEKEND
October 18, 2017
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MARTIN, Tenn. – For the first time in almost three weeks, the University of Tennessee at Martin volleyball team will take the court in front of the home crowd when it hosts Eastern Kentucky and Morehead State in Ohio Valley Conference action at Skyhawk Fieldhouse. UT Martin hosts Eastern Kentucky on Friday, Oct. 20 at 7 p.m. before taking on Morehead State on Saturday, Oct. 21 at 2 p.m.
This weekend also serves as the annual “Pink Out” matches, as donations will be accepted for the Anna Kate Wenz Foundation. For both matches, the UT Martin players will don pink socks and shoelaces to raise awareness for cancer.
At the halfway point of the conference season, the Skyhawks (10-11 overall) are in a three-way tie for sixth place but is just two games out of third place in the OVC standings. This weekend marks the first home match for UT Martin since Sept. 30 as it spent its last two weekends on the road.
The Skyhawks are 13-9 all-time against Eastern Kentucky at home, winning seven of the last eight home decisions dating back to 2006. UT Martin will also look to continue its recent success against Morehead State, as the Skyhawks have won two of the last three matchups against the Eagles.
Last weekend, UT Martin split road tilts at Belmont (lost 3-0) and at Tennessee State (won 3-1). Megan Fair and Hannah Phillips each registered a team-high 19 kills (2.71 per set) while Kelly Lean (30 assists, 20 digs) corralled two double-doubles as one of the two Skyhawk setters in the 6-2 offense. Defensively, Brooke Gyori had another standout weekend, scooping up 36 digs (5.14 per set) – 27 of which came in Saturday’s win over Tennessee State. Returning from an injury that had her sidelined since Sept. 22, Hayley Gray led the Skyhawks with 10 blocks (1.67 per set).
UT Martin has excelled at the net all season, leading the OVC with 2.28 blocks per set while upping that number to 3.08 swats per set in league play. Jemima Idemudia’s 1.63 blocks per set against conference foes is the best mark in the OVC while Gyori ranks third in the conference in overall digs per set (4.57).
Eastern Kentucky (7-15, 5-3 OVC) had won four straight – including handing league leader Austin Peay its lone loss – until dropping a pair of home matches last weekend to SIUE (3-2) and Eastern Illinois (3-1). Nikki Drost guided the Colonels with 32 kills (4.57 per set) – including a season-best 22 putaways against SIUE. In conference matches, Chloe Rojas leads the OVC in digs (5.61 per set) while Celina Sanks’ 0.55 service aces per set in conference play ranks atop the OVC.
Morehead State comes into the weekend with an 11-10 overall record and a 2-6 OVC mark after defeating Eastern Illinois and falling to SIUE in a pair of three-set decisions last week. Freshman Olivia Lohmeier (team-high 22 kills on a .333 hitting percentage) led the Eagle offensive attack while setter Jordan Jones tallied a stat line of 46 assists, 17 kills, 13 digs and seven blocks in the two matches. Maddie Fella leads the OVC in blocks at 1.29 per set.
Both matches this weekend will be streamed live, free of charge, on the OVC Digital Network. Those links - as well as links for live stats - can be found at the top of the webpage.