MARTIN, Tenn. – After sweeping a two-match homestand last weekend against fellow Ohio Valley Conference West rivals, The University of Tennessee at Martin volleyball team will look to go above .500 in league play this weekend at Austin Peay (7 p.m., Friday, Nov. 2) and at Murray State (6 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 3). Both matches this weekend will be shown on the OVC Digital Network.
The Skyhawks (10-16, 6-6 OVC) are coming off a 3-1 win over Eastern Illinois and a 3-2 victory against SIU Edwardsville. In those two matches, UT Martin’s offense clicked to the tune of a .271 attack percentage – piling up 133 kills in the nine sets (14.78 per set).
Emily Keaton led the Skyhawks with 29 kills last weekend, while Shelby Hoskins (.452 attack percentage) and Amanda Crask (.409) also recorded 24 kills apiece in the two matches. Hoskins provided 14 kills against only one error against Eastern Illinois while Crask amassed the program’s second-ever triple-double against SIU Edwardsville (40 assists, 15 kills, 17 digs).
Defensively, OVC digs leader Kasey Elswick tallied 39 digs to lead UT Martin last weekend. The senior out of Louisville, Ky. also reached the first double-double (25 digs, 14 assists) of her illustrious career against SIU Edwardsville. Hoskins and Jackie Harter commanded the net with five blocks apiece.
On Friday night, UT Martin will look to avenge a 3-1 home loss to Austin Peay (23-25, 16-25, 21-25) that occurred on Oct. 6. In that match, Keaton led the way with 11 kills, while Crask handed out 23 assists. Elswick racked up a match-high 25 digs to pace the Skyhawk defense.
This Saturday, the Skyhawks will go for the season sweep of Murray State after a 3-1 home victory (25-20, 19-25, 25-23, 25-20) over the Racers on Oct. 5. UT Martin’s defense propelled the Skyhawks to the victory, as the team turned away a season-high 16 blocks while limiting Murray State to an .012 attack percentage in the final two sets. Harter (10 blocks) and Elswick (20) stood out defensively, while Lynsey Hazelwood’s 12 kills and Crask’s 33 assists got the offense going.
Austin Peay (14-14, 7-5 OVC) split a pair of road matches last weekend, falling 3-1 at Belmont before bouncing back with a 3-1 win over Tennessee State. Nikki Doyle led the Lady Govs with double-figure kill totals in both matches (20 at Belmont, 14 at Tennessee State) while sporting a .326 hitting percentage for the weekend (only six errors in 86 attempts).
Doyle ranks third in the OVC in kills (3.74 per set) to lead Austin Peay, who ranks atop the league in attack percentage (.223). Jada Stotts’ 3.58 kills per set average is the fourth-highest total in the league, while setter Cami Fields ranks second in the OVC in assists (10.24 per set).
Defensively, Stotts’ 2.94 digs per set leads the Lady Govs, while Lauren Henderson’s 67 blocks (17 solo) are a team-high.
Murray State enters the weekend with a 4-18 record and 2-10 mark in league play. The Racers have lost five straight OVC matches, the last four of which have been 3-0 sweeps on the road.
Offensively, Taylor Olden ranks eighth in the OVC in kills (2.85 per set), while Emily Schmahl averages 2.75 kills per set for the Racers. Lia Havili paces Murray State with 8.38 assists per set.
Katlyn Hudson (3.35 digs per set) and Alyssa Lelm (1.09 blocks per set, ranking fifth in the OVC) are the defensive leaders for the Racers.