COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee at Martin volleyball team used several outstanding individual performances this afternoon to capture a 3-2 victory over Ohio Valley Conference foe Tennessee Tech (25-14, 19-25, 28-26, 20-25, 15-8) at Hooper-Eblen Center.
The Skyhawks (6-11, 2-2 OVC) set season-high totals in kills (67), attempts (217), assists (61) and digs (114) today.
Senior libero Kasey Elswick racked up 41 digs today – the second-most in a single match in school history. She wound up five digs shy of tying her own school record set last season against Eastern Kentucky.
Freshman Dallas Zimmerman hit .306 and tallied a career-best 15 kills today to lead a balanced UT Martin offensive attack. A trio of Skyhawks piled up double-doubles, led by a near triple-double by Amanda Crask (career-highs of 46 assists, 12 digs and nine kills). Lynsey Hazelwood (14 kills, 11 digs) and Emily Keaton (10 kills, season-best 16 digs) also recorded double-doubles for the Skyhawks, while Shelby Hoskins accumulated 12 kills.
The fifth UT Martin player to register double-figure dig totals was freshman Chelsea Bowles, who scooped up 18 digs. Hoskins and Jackie Harter each turned away two blocks to lead the Skyhawks at the net.
UT Martin hit .342 (16 kills against three errors in 18 attempts) and sided out at 80 percent (12-of-15) in the first set. After six ties and two lead changes midway through the set, the Skyhawks scored five straight points to go ahead 17-12. The Golden Eagles would get within four at 18-14 before UT Martin closed out the set on a 7-0 run, including a pair of kills by Harter.
Zimmerman piled up five kills against no errors in seven attempts in the first set. Crask accounted for 11 assists while Elswick amassed eight digs to help the Skyhawks jump out to a one-set lead.
Tennessee Tech led 4-2 in the second set until back-to-back kills by Zimmerman and Crask evened the score. The Golden Eagles used a four point run and led 14-10 before UT Martin fought back and got within one point on three different occasions (14-13, 15-14, 16-15). The Skyhawks trailed 21-19 late in the set but Tennessee Tech responded with four unanswered points to even the match at 1-1.
The trio of Hazelwood, Keaton and Zimmerman each had three kills to lead the offense in the second set, while Keaton and Elswick tallied six digs each.
UT Martin accounted for four of the first five points in the third set, but Tennessee Tech used a 5-0 run moments later to take a 9-6 lead. After the Skyhawks closed the gap to one point at 11-10, the Golden Eagles went back on top by a 15-10 margin. UT Martin kept chipping away, tying the match at 17-all thanks to a Hoskins kill. The score would be tied eight more times from that point on, as the Skyhawks fought off match point by Tennessee Tech to end the set on a 5-2 run.
Keaton (five kills), Crask (15 assists) and Elswick (eight digs) led UT Martin in the third set, as the Skyhawks accumulated 18 kills.
Just as they had done a set before, the Skyhawks led 4-1 in the fourth set, eventually opening up a 10-5 advantage off back-to-back service aces by Hazelwood. A Crask kill made the score 12-8 but the Golden Eagles pieced together a 4-0 run to tie the set at 14-all. Consecutive kills by Hoskins and Crask pushed UT Martin back on top 16-14, but Tennessee Tech followed with an 8-0 run on its way to the fourth set victory.
Elswick turned in another impressive performance in the fourth set with eight digs, while Crask’s three kills paced the Skyhawks.
In the decisive fifth set, UT Martin’s freshmen accounted for five early kills to help the Skyhawks take an 8-1 advantage. Tennessee Tech got within three points at 9-6 but UT Martin never conceded the lead, ending the set with back-to-back kills by Zimmerman as well as an assisted block by Harter and Zimmerman.
Elswick scooped up a total of 11 digs in the abbreviated fifth set, while Bowles chipped in with seven digs for the Skyhawks. Hazelwood’s four kills paved the way for the UT Martin offense.
The Skyhawks wrap up their five-match road swing with their final nonconference matchup of the season at Evansville on Tuesday, Oct. 2. The match is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m.