MURRAY, Ky. – The University of Tennessee at Martin battled but came up short in three sets at Murray State (20-25, 23-25, 22-25) in Ohio Valley Conference volleyball action this afternoon.
Freshman Jamie Rys exploded for a new career-high in digs (19) today, eclipsing her previous best match of 11 digs set against Eastern Kentucky (Oct. 20) and at Jacksonville State (Oct. 27). The Bloomington, Ill. native’s 19 digs ranked as a match-high this afternoon.
Macy Reigelsperger accounted for a match-high five blocks for UT Martin (11-16, 5-9 OVC) while the trio of Jemima Idemudia, Justine Walker and Hannah Phillips each contributed a team-best nine kills. Kenzie Hinshaw (26 assists) and Kelly Lean (14 assists) also helped guide the Skyhawks offensively.
Murray State (18-8, 10-4 OVC) led by a 7-3 margin to start off the first set but a balanced offense helped UT Martin get right back in the match. A kill by Reigelsperger – the sixth different Skyhawk to record a kill up to that point – trimmed UT Martin’s deficit to one point at 10-9. The Racers soon extended their lead to 15-11 but once again, five different Skyhawks were responsible for kills over UT Martin’s next five points to even the score at 16-all. However, Murray State went on a 5-0 run and although a Phillips putaway made the score 23-20, that was as close as the Skyhawks would get for the duration of the set.
Rys’ strong play was evident from the start, as she scooped up nine digs in the opening stanza.
UT Martin found itself in a 5-0 hole to open the second set but a Rachel Noffsinger kill moments later capped off a 4-1 Skyhawk run to cut Murray State’s lead to 7-6. The Racers extended their advantage out to 15-11 before a UT Martin surge, as Reigelsperger and Rys each dialed up two kills apiece during an 8-4 run that tied the set at 18-18. Four more ties followed before the Skyhawks broke through for their first lead of the set following yet another Reigelsperger kill that made the score 23-22. However, the Racers concluded the set with three unanswered points to take a 2-0 lead in the match.
Hinshaw handed out 12 assists in the second set alone while Rys’ seven digs paced UT Martin.
The third set featured seven tie scores and two lead changes. Back-to-back kills by Phillips and Rys broke an 8-8 tie and provided the Skyhawks with a 10-8 edge. Murray State responded with four straight points as part of a 7-1 run to make the score 15-11. A kill by Phillips soon thereafter helped UT Martin get back within one point at 17-16 but the Skyhawks could not get over the hump. UT Martin closed to a single-point four different times (20-19, 21-20, 22-21, 23-22) but would never go back on top as the Racers scored the final two points of the set to win the match.
Phillips generated a team-best five kills in the third and final stanza.
The Skyhawks wrap up the 2017 regular season next weekend with a pair of home dates as they look to hold on to an OVC Tournament berth. UT Martin hosts Eastern Illinois for Senior Night at 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 10 before hosting SIUE at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 11.