NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee at Martin battled tonight at Tennessee State but narrowly fell 3-1 (23-25, 19-25, 25-22, 23-25) to the Tigers at Kean Hall.
The Skyhawks (8-15, 2-5 Ohio Valley Conference) were led offensively this evening by Madison Wessling and Lynsey Hazelwood, each of whom racked up 11 kills. Emily Keaton secured nine kills while Allie Whimpey tallied eight kills for UT Martin, who received 41 assists from Amanda Crask.
Defensively, Chelsea Bowles led the way with 17 digs while Keaton scooped up 10 digs. Hazelwood amassed nine digs, coming up just one dig shy of a double-double.
The Skyhawks led for the majority of the first set before a Tennessee State run midway through the set proved to be the difference. After the Tigers took their first lead at 7-6, UT Martin reeled off three straight points – including back-to-back kills by Crask and Keaton – to make the score 9-7. Moments later, an assisted block by Whimpey and Keaton provided a 12-9 Skyhawk lead but Tennessee State would go on a 9-3 run to go on top 18-15. UT Martin then accounted for four straight points to take a 19-18 lead but Tennessee State responded with a 4-1 run. The Skyhawks got within a single point on three different occasions – including 24-23 – but could not reclaim the lead for the remainder of the set.
Keaton’s three kills led five Skyhawks with multi-kill efforts in the first set while Crask handed out 10 assists.
Tennessee State used a 7-0 run to jump out to a 9-3 lead in the second set but UT Martin crept back within four points (14-10) courtesy of back-to-back kills by Julia Devinney and Whimpey. The margin remained at four until a 4-0 Tiger run made the score 20-12 but the Skyhawks kept fighting, chalking up five unanswered points of their own to get within three points at 20-17. However, Tennessee State scored five of the final seven points to claim the set.
Wessling and Hazelwood each were responsible for three kills for the Skyhawks in the second set.
UT Martin battled back from a 4-1 deficit to take a 7-6 lead in the third set, thanks to two straight service aces by Whimpey. With the score knotted at 11-all, the Skyhawks scored three unanswered to take a 14-11 lead off a block by Devinney and Whimpey. Tennessee State would get back within one point at 19-18 but UT Martin would once again score three straight points to extend its lead out to 22-18. The Tigers would not get closer than two points for the rest of the set.
Hazelwood and Whimpey posted three kills apiece in the third set while Bowles led the way defensively with five of the team’s 11 digs.
Whimpey started UT Martin off on the right foot with a kill in the first set but Tennessee State came back with a 10-0 run. The Tigers would lead 15-3 but it was soon the Skyhawks’ turn to go on a lengthy run. UT Martin would unleash a 20-9 run, scoring at least three consecutive points on four different occasions to pull all the way back within 24-23. However, Tennessee State came away with the final point to halt the Skyhawk comeback attempt.
Wessling (five kills), Crask (12 assists) and Bowles (nine digs) were instrumental in UT Martin’s rally in the fourth set.
UT Martin concludes a four-match OVC road trip on Saturday, Oct. 19 when it heads across town to battle Belmont at 2 p.m.
Photo courtesy of Sam Jordan/TSU Athletics