MARTIN, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee at Martin volleyball team turned up the defense this evening against Murray State, racking up eight of its 16 total blocks in the decisive fourth set alone in a 3-1 Ohio Valley Conference victory over the Racers (25-20, 19-25, 25-23, 25-20) in Skyhawk Fieldhouse.
The 16 blocks were a season-high for the Skyhawks (7-12, 3-2 OVC), who were led by Jackie Harter’s career-best 10 blocks. Kasey Elswick accumulated 20 digs and Emily Keaton added 11 digs to round out UT Martin’s defensive attack.
The Skyhawk offense was led by three freshmen tonight. Lynsey Hazelwood continued her impressive season with a team-high 12 kills tonight while Shelby Hoskins compiled nine kills against only one error in 21 attempts (.381 attack percentage). Amanda Crask registered totals of seven kills, 33 assists and seven digs tonight for UT Martin.
In the first set, UT Martin led 3-0 but would eventually trail 8-5 before Keaton picked up a pair of kills as part of four unanswered points. Allie Whimpey’s third kill of the set ignited a Skyhawk run that resulted in a 13-10 lead. After Murray State got within two at 14-12, a kill by Crask put UT Martin on top 17-12. A Keaton kill extended the Skyhawk lead to six at 21-15, but four straight Racer points made the set close at the end. Ultimately, a pair of kills by Hazelwood and one by Hoskins closed out a 3-0 run to end the set for UT Martin.
UT Martin registered 16 kills against only three errors in 35 attempts in the first set, resulting in a .371 attack percentage. Hazelwood led the way with five kills, while Crask accounted for a dozen assists.
The Skyhawks were down 4-2 in the second set, but cut their deficit to one (5-4) on an assisted block by Hoskins and Crask. UT Martin would stay within three points until the Racers took a 10-6 lead. After Murray State extended its lead to 15-10, a Harter kill pulled the Skyhawks within three at 17-14. However, Murray State would soon even the match by going on a crucial 5-1 run late.
UT Martin accounted for three of the first four points in the third set, but nine ties and four lead changes would follow. The lead did not exceed two on either side until the Racers took a 16-13 advantage. The Skyhawks would rally soon thereafter, unreeling an 8-1 run that included three kills by Hazelwood. With UT Martin leading 24-19, Murray State was responsible for four straight points before an attack error ended the set.
Elswick enjoyed an outstanding third set, tallying 10 of the Skyhawks’ 19 digs.
A solo block by Hazelwood led to a quick 6-2 lead by UT Martin in the fourth set. Murray State would close within two at 11-9 until two straight blocks at the net pushed the Skyhawk advantage back out to 13-9. The Racers once again cut their deficit to two (15-13 and 19-17) before a pair of assisted blocks by Harter and Keaton made the score 22-18. A Hazelwood kill capped off the victory for the Skyhawks.
Elswick (seven digs) and Harter (six blocks) manned the defense in the fourth set to lead UT Martin to the victory.
The Skyhawks now will have a quick turnaround, as they take on Austin Peay at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 6 as part of Homecoming festivities on the UT Martin campus.