MARTIN, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee at Martin volleyball team hit .248 as a team this evening against Tennessee State, but the Skyhawks couldn’t make enough plays in a 3-1 loss (30-32, 25-22, 18-25, 23-25) at Skyhawk Fieldhouse.
Freshman Amanda Crask hit .476 with a career-high 12 kills to go along with 37 assists tonight to lead UT Martin offensively. Sophomore Emily Keaton also added 12 kills while Lynsey Hazelwood (nine kills), Shelby Hoskins (eight) and Jackie Harter (eight) also powered the Skyhawks (7-14, 3-4 OVC).
Defensively, Kasey Elswick racked up 18 digs while Chelsea Bowles scooped up 14 digs for UT Martin. Harter and Hoskins each tallied four blocks apiece to lead the Skyhawks at the net.
The first set featured 14 tie scores, most of which came in the latter stages of the set. A kill by Bowles helped UT Martin jump out to a 3-1 lead but Tennessee State quickly came back to claim a 4-3 advantage. The Tigers would lead by three on three different occasions before an assisted block by Hoskins and Allie Whimpey evened the score at 13-all. Although Tennessee State would reclaim the lead and threatened to close out the set, UT Martin battled back from a 24-22 deficit thanks to back-to-back kills by Hazelwood. The two teams then traded points over the next 12 possessions until Tennessee State pieced together consecutive points to claim a 32-30 win.
Hazelwood’s four kills and Crask’s 13 assists led the Skyhawks, who hit .350 with 16 kills in the first set.
The Skyhawks took a 6-3 lead in the second set and after Tennessee State cut the score to 8-6, UT Martin extended its lead out to four at 10-6 and 13-9. The Tigers crept within one at 14-13 but Hoskins immediately answered with a kill, followed by a pair of kills by Hazelwood and Crask to make the score 17-14. Tennessee State then went on a 6-0 run to take a 20-17 advantage before UT Martin returned the favor with five straight points to lead 22-20. A pair of late kills by Keaton iced the set and evened the match at 1-all.
Keaton (four kills) paced the offense in the second set, while Elswick compiled seven digs to lead the Skyhawk defense.
Tennessee State grabbed an early lead in the third set but two Hoskins kills kept UT Martin within one point (5-4). The Tigers led by six at 13-7 before four straight Skyhawk points sliced UT Martin’s deficit to two. However, Tennessee State used a 4-1 run to take a 19-13 advantage and the Skyhawks could not get closer than four points the rest of the way.
Hoskins and Crask both had four kills apiece to lead UT Martin in the third set.
Both teams swapped leads early in the fourth set before Tennessee State scored four unanswered to lead 9-4. UT Martin closed the gap to three points twice before the Tigers pushed their advantage out to 18-12. Hoskins then recorded two kills and a service ace to pull the Skyhawks within three at 19-16. A kill by Taylor Simons and a Tennessee State attack error made the score 21-20 in Tennessee State’s favor. The Tigers accounted for the next two points but UT Martin scrapped its way back to a one-point deficit on two different occasions (23-22, 24-23). However, a kill by Tennessee State’s Naomi Wells ended the Skyhawks’ comeback bid.
Keaton (five kills) and Crask (four kills, 11 assists) led the way for UT Martin in the fourth and final set.
The Skyhawks host OVC newcomer Belmont tomorrow (Saturday, Oct. 13) at Skyhawk Fieldhouse. First serve is scheduled for 2 p.m.