EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – The University of Tennessee at Martin volleyball team fell 3-0 this evening to the SIU Edwardsville Cougars (23-25, 20-25, 10-25) in both teams’ Ohio Valley Conference opener at the Vadalabene Center.
Lynsey Hazelwood and Jackie Harter each recorded seven kills to lead the Skyhawks (4-10, 0-1 OVC). Amanda Crask tallied 26 assists and Kasey Elswick scooped up 15 digs for UT Martin.
“We played young tonight and let the pressure of a conference and veteran team get to us,” Skyhawk head coach Darrin McClure said.
UT Martin led 3-0 in the first set and held on to its lead midway through the set after back-to-back kills by Harter made the score 12-9. After the Cougars answered with a point, Shelby Hoskins registered consecutive kills to give the Skyhawks a 14-10 advantage. SIU Edwardsville would later piece together four unanswered points to tie the match at 16-all and eventually take a 19-17 lead. Back-to-back kills by Taylor Simons then keyed a late Skyhawk push, as UT Martin led 22-21. However, SIU Edwardsville ended the set on a 4-1 run.
Harter and Simons each had three kills to lead the Skyhawks in the first set, while Crask handed out 10 assists. Elswick’s five digs led UT Martin defensively.
Kills by Hazelwood and Hoskins broke an early tie and gave UT Martin a 5-3 lead in the second set. The set was tied at 6-6 but Emily Keaton came away with two straight kills to key a run that tilted the score 10-6 in the Skyhawks’ favor. UT Martin pushed its lead out to five (13-8) before a 6-1 Cougar run evened the score at 14-all. SIU Edwardsville took a 16-15 lead and would lead 21-17 before the Skyhawks closed within three when a Dallas Zimmerman kill made the score 23-20. However, SIU Edwardsville ended the set with two straight points.
UT Martin slammed down 17 kills in the second set, with Zimmerman and Hazelwood tallying a team-high four kills apiece. Crask had 10 assists while Elswick, Keaton and Hazelwood each came away with six digs to lead a 24-dig effort defensively.
The Skyhawks trailed 5-0 to begin the third set before a Zimmerman kill and Cougar attack error made the score 5-2. An Allie Whimpey kill made the score 7-5, but SIU Edwardsville then scored eight unanswered points to go ahead by a 15-5 margin. The Skyhawks accounted for three of the next four points to make the score 16-8, but the Cougars ended the set on a 9-2 run.
UT Martin will look for a split on its league-opening road trip tomorrow when it faces Eastern Illinois at 1 p.m. Fans can watch the match free of charge on the OVC Digital Network by clicking here. Live stats will also be available at this link.