MARTIN, Tenn. – For the second straight day, the University of Tennessee at Martin volleyball team left it all on the floor but fell in five sets against an Ohio Valley Conference opponent, as the Skyhawks fell 3-2 to Murray State (17-25, 26-24, 25-16, 13-25, 13-15) this afternoon.
UT Martin (9-21, 3-11 OVC) was led offensively by Emily Keaton and Allie Whimpey, who each had 15 kills. Madison Wessling added 10 kills for the Skyhawks while Amanda Crask was responsible for her 12th double-double of the season with 47 assists and 12 digs to go along with seven kills.
Defensively, UT Martin was led by Chelsea Bowles’ 24 digs and a career-best 19 digs out of Michelle McLaughlin. Julia Devinney tallied four blocks to pace the Skyhawks at the net.
Back-to-back kills by Lynsey Hazelwood and Alisha Erves opened the match for UT Martin, but no team could open up a lead of more than two points until the Racers used a 5-0 run to go on top 15-10. A Murray State service error kept the margin at five (19-14) but the Racers closed out the first set by scoring six of the final nine points.
Keaton had four kills against no errors on six swings in the first set while Crask handed out 11 assists for a Skyhawk offense that hit .258 and had 13 kills.
The Skyhawks led 3-2 in the second set but Murray State used a 9-0 run to go ahead 11-3. UT Martin answered quickly, piecing together an 11-4 run to get within a single point after a Keaton kill. The Racers were able to extend their lead to 20-17 until UT Martin scored four straight points to take a 21-20 advantage, keyed by two kills by Keaton. The match was tied at 24-all but Wessling followed with two straight kills to end the set.
Whimpey’s four kills and Crask’s 12 assists highlighted the Skyhawk offense in the second set, as UT Martin hit .233 with 15 kills.
Whimpey kept rolling along in the third set, accounting for a pair of early kills to help the Skyhawks lead 4-0. Eight ties would then follow, as the teams battled back-and-forth until the score was tied at 15-15. From that point forward, UT Martin unreeled a 9-0 run on its way to the victory. Wessling once again was clutch for the Skyhawks in the third set, accounting for the final two kills of the set.
Four kills by Whimpey and 10 assists by Crask led the UT Martin offense in the third set while the stingy Skyhawk defense limited Murray State to a -.056 attack percentage.
UT Martin led 3-2 early in the fourth set but four straight points by the Racers gave Murray State a lead it would not relinquish the rest of the set. A Crask kill and bad set by the Racers helped UT Martin stay within one point at 8-7 but the Racers answered with an 11-2 run. Crask and Wessling were responsible for a pair of late kills but time ran out on the Skyhawk comeback attempt.
McLaughlin had six of UT Martin’s 18 digs in the fourth set.
The Skyhawks led for a majority of the fifth set, jumping out to an 11-7 advantage. However, four straight Murray State points evened the score until a Whimpey kill tilted the score back in UT Martin’s favor at 12-11. The Racers came back with three straight points but Keaton extended the match with a kill that made the score 14-13. However, Murray State tallied a kill on the next possession to end the match.
Keaton, Whimpey and Wessling accounted for all of UT Martin’s nine kills in the final set, slamming down three apiece. Crask (nine assists), Bowles (six digs) and McLaughlin (five digs) also performed well for the Skyhawks in the fifth set.
UT Martin closes out its season on the road next week, traveling to Southeast Missouri on Tuesday, Nov. 12 and to Jacksonville State on Saturday, Nov. 16.