CHARLESTON, Ill. – The University of Tennessee at Martin volleyball team posted its first Ohio Valley Conference victory of the season this afternoon with a 3-1 come-from-behind victory (20-25, 25-22, 25-20, 25-21) over the Panthers at Lantz Arena. With the victory, the Skyhawks improve to 5-10 with a 1-1 OVC record.
Lynsey Hazelwood tallied her third double-double in the last four matches today, racking up a team-high 12 kills to go along with 10 digs. Emily Keaton also registered 11 kills while Amanda Crask handed out 31 assists for the Skyhawk offense, who increased their kills in each set this afternoon (eight in first set, 10 in second, 12 in third, 15 in fourth).
Defensively, four players tallied double-figure dig totals, led by a match-high 27 by Kasey Elswick. Along with Hazelwood’s 10, Chelsea Bowles amassed 13 digs and Crask completed her fourth double-double of the season with 10 digs. UT Martin also tied a season-high with 11 blocks this afternoon, paced by a career-best eight from freshman Shelby Hoskins.
"Today was a good win for us," Skyhawk head coach Darrin McClure said. "Eastern Illinois has good players and is a dangerous team. The difference in the game today was our serving and blocking. We need more consistent efforts in those areas for continued success."
In the first set, Eastern Illinois accounted for eight of the first 10 points. The Skyhawks would go on a 4-1 run – capped off by a Hazelwood kill – to get within three at 9-6. With the margin still at three, the Panthers scored four unanswered to take a 15-8 lead, but UT Martin would storm back to pull within one at 19-18. The Skyhawks trailed by only two at 22-20 before Eastern Illinois closed out the set with three straight points.
Hazelwood accounted for half of UT Martin’s kills (four of eight) in the first set.
The Skyhawks used a late comeback to take the second set, which featured 12 ties and three lead changes. The lead was never more than one point early on until Eastern Illinois took a 10-8 advantage. UT Martin would soon find itself down 17-11 and 21-13 before reeling off eight straight points – including three service aces by Hazelwood – to even the score at 21-all. After the Panthers took a brief 22-21 lead, UT Martin ended the set with four straight points – including an Elswick service ace to end the set.
Keaton notched four kills in the second set, followed by three for Hazelwood. Elswick (seven digs) and Bowles (six) anchored the Skyhawk defense in the set.
The Skyhawks jumped out to a 5-1 lead in the third set but quickly found themselves tied at 6-all. Eastern Illinois grabbed a 10-8 lead but moments later, four straight points by UT Martin tilted the score 16-12 in the Skyhawks’ favor. An ace by Hoskins gave UT Martin its biggest lead of the set (22-16) but the Panthers cut the Skyhawk lead to 23-20. Back-to-back kills by Hazelwood and Crask wrapped up the set and gave UT Martin a 2-1 lead.
Hazelwood and Keaton each picked up three kills in the third set, while Elswick tallied nine digs in the set alone to lead the Skyhawks defensively.
Keaton had two early kills to give UT Martin a 3-1 lead in the fourth set, as the Skyhawks would extended their lead out to 7-2 and 10-3. Another Keaton kill doubled up the score on Eastern Illinois (16-8), but the Panthers would gradually cut into UT Martin’s lead. After the Skyhawks led 20-18, Dallas Zimmerman came up with a huge kill to ignite a 3-0 run and make the score 23-18. Eastern Illinois got within three at 24-21 before a Hoskins kill clinched UT Martin’s first OVC victory of the season.
Keaton’s four kills led the way in the fourth set, while Crask accounted for 11 assists and Elswick scooped up six digs to lead the Skyhawks.
The Skyhawks continue their five-match road swing with a midweek matchup at OVC rival Southeast Missouri at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 25.