MARTIN, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee at Martin volleyball team’s comeback attempt came up just short this afternoon, as the Skyhawks fell in five sets against Jacksonville State (25-20, 14-25, 14-25, 29-27, 7-15) at Skyhawk Fieldhouse.
Despite the loss, the Skyhawks (10-20, 6-10 Ohio Valley Conference) clinched a spot in next week’s OVC tournament in Morehead, Ky. as the No. 8 seed. UT Martin will take on top seed Morehead State on Thursday at 6 p.m. CT.
Offensively, the Skyhawks were balanced this afternoon – as six players notched seven or more kills. Allie Whimpey led the team with 10 kills to go along with 13 digs, followed by Jackie Harter’s eight kills. Emily Keaton, Shelby Hoskins, Taylor Simons and Amanda Crask (38 assists, 13 digs) also delivered seven kills apiece for UT Martin.
Senior Kasey Elswick led the Skyhawks with 28 digs this afternoon, while Harter’s five blocks were a team-high for UT Martin.
Behind a .265 team hitting percentage, the Skyhawks took the first set, which featured 11 ties and five lead changes. Jacksonville State led for most of the earlygoing until Whimpey slammed down back-to-back kills to help UT Martin take a 15-13 lead. Four straight points by the Gamecocks then tilted the score to 17-15, but the Skyhawks responded with a 3-0 run of their own to go back on top by a point. After the score was tied at 18-all, UT Martin closed out the set on a 7-2 run.
Keaton and Whimpey each had three kills to lead the Skyhawk offense in the first set, while Elswick scooped up nine digs to lead the way defensively.
Although the Gamecocks led early in the second set (5-1), UT Martin stayed within four all the way out to 13-9. From that point forward, Jacksonville State scored seven straight points to take a 20-9 advantage until Crask ended the drought with a kill. The Skyhawks would claw back within eight points at 20-12 but that was as close as they would get the rest of the set.
In the second set, Harter and Whimpey had a team-high three kills apiece to pace UT Martin.
The Skyhawks got off to a hot start in the third set, accounting for six of the first nine points before Jacksonville State came back to take an 8-7 advantage. UT Martin would tie the score at 8-all and 11-all but the Gamecocks soon took a three-point lead until a Harter kill made the score 14-12. However, Jacksonville State went on a 7-0 run on its way to scoring 11 of the final 13 points of the set.
Elswick’s eight digs in the third set paced the Skyhawks.
Two straight kills by Simons capped off a 4-0 run that gave UT Martin a 9-6 advantage in the fourth set. A kill by Lynsey Hazelwood made the score 14-12 but Jacksonville State eventually took a 16-15 advantage. A pair of Simons kills and Whimpey service aces resulted in a 4-0 run for UT Martin as the Skyhawks took the lead back at 20-17. The Gamecocks scored three straight to even the score but UT Martin responded with three consecutive points to go back on top by a 23-20 margin. To cap off a set of runs, Jacksonville State then answered with three consecutive points but the Skyhawks fought off match point twice, as an assisted block by Hoskins and Whimpey capped off a 4-1 run to force a decisive fifth set.
Simons slammed down four kills on a perfect 1.000 attack percentage in the fourth set, while Crask (14 assists) and Elswick (eight digs) also led UT Martin.
The Skyhawks led early in the fifth set but after the score was tied 3-3, Jacksonville State scored seven unanswered points. Elswick and Whimpey would add kills later on in the set but UT Martin couldn’t climb back.