MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The University of Tennessee at Martin volleyball team battled against the No. 6 team in the nation today but ultimately Penn State was too much for the Skyhawks in a 3-0 setback (13-25, 13-25, 8-25) in the WVU Invitational.
Freshman Kenzie Hinshaw tallied team-highs in assists (seven) and digs (seven) this afternoon for UT Martin, who also received seven digs from junior newcomer Brooke Gyori. Macy Reigelsperger came away with a team-best five kills while Kelly Lean added six assists for the Skyhawks.
Each of the first two sets featured five tie scores and four lead changes. The Nittany Lions secured the first point of the match but UT Martin came roaring back for three straight points, as Justine Walker (kill), Rachel Noffsinger (solo block) and Megan Fair (service ace) each contributed to give the Skyhawks a 3-1 lead. Penn State followed with four unanswered points but a Reigelsperger kill moments later pushed UT Martin back ahead by a 7-6 margin. However, the Nittany Lions came back with an 11-3 run and the Skyhawks would not come any closer than five points for the remainder of the first set.
Gyori was responsible for four digs in the opening set but Penn State would outhit UT Martin by a .346 to -.040 margin.
Reigelsperger slammed down three kills in the early phases of the second set, allowing the Skyhawks to go ahead by a 4-2 margin. The Nittany Lions nabbed a brief lead before three consecutive attack errors and yet another Reigelsperger kill tilted the score back in UT Martin’s favor at 8-6. Penn State then went on a 6-0 run to fuel a span where the Nittany Lions scored 10 of the next 11 points. Noffsinger collected a late kill but ultimately the Skyhawks could not recover.
UT Martin was paced by Reigelsperger in the second set, as the senior from Coldwater, Ohio hit an even .500 without an error in eight swings. The Skyhawks hit .150 as a team in the second set but Penn State was able to generate a .375 attack percentage in the stanza.
The Nittany Lions used the late momentum from the second set to score the first 15 points of the final set. Jemima Idemudia, Hayley Gray and Fair each compiled kills in the latter stages of the set but UT Martin could not dig itself out of the early hole.
The Skyhawks tallied nine digs in the third set but Penn State hit .464 with just three miscues on 28 attempts.
UT Martin will look for its first victory of the season on Saturday, Aug. 26 when it takes on host West Virginia (11:30 a.m. Central Standard Time) and Delaware (3:30 p.m. CST) on Day Two of the WVU Invitational.