EVANSVILLE, Ind. – The University of Tennessee at Martin volleyball team made a statement on the first day of the Dunn Hospitality Invitational, cruising past UAB for a 3-0 sweep (25-19, 25-20, 25-21) this afternoon at Meeks Fieldhouse.
The Skyhawks (3-5) were in command from the start, making short work of a Blazer squad that came in as victors in three of their last five matches. Despite the fact that the match only lasted three sets, UT Martin established new season-highs in service aces (eight) and blocks (nine).
Megan Fair’s 11 kills led a balanced Skyhawk attack, as the junior from Conover, NC hit .269 with just four errors in 26 swings. Jamie Rys tied a career-high with eight kills while scooping up a career-best 10 digs while Jemima Idemudia (seven), Hannah Phillips (six) and Hayley Gray (five) combined for 18 kills with only four errors for a .350 attack percentage.
Kenzie Hinshaw (17 assists) and Kelly Lean (11) split setter duties and kept the well-oiled UT Martin offense at full force, as the Skyhawks hit .271 for the match.
Defensively, Brooke Gyori was responsible for a match-high 13 digs while Idemudia (five), Gray (five) and Justine Walker (four) combined for 14 blocks for UT Martin.
The Skyhawks jumped out to a 3-0 advantage in the first set and expanded the lead to 5-2 thanks to a trio of kills by Idemudia. UT Martin soon led by a 10-4 margin but UAB came back with an 8-1 spurt that temporarily resulted in a 12-11 Skyhawk deficit. Fair would soon heat up, delivering three kills in the span of five points as UT Martin went back on top, 22-16. A Rys kill put the finishing touches on the 25-19 Skyhawk victory in the opening stanza.
Fair and Idemudia shared the team lead with four kills in the first set, as UT Martin hit .290 with only four errors.
Gray helped carry the Skyhawks in the early stages of the second set, piling up two kills and two blocks during UT Martin’s 8-6 lead. Rys, Fair and Phillips teamed up for kills on three straight possessions to break an 11-all tie but the Blazers responded with three straight points to even the score at 14-14. The Skyhawks answered with a 4-0 run and would not allow UAB to get any closer than two points the rest of the way, as Phillips put UT Martin ahead 2-0 after her kill made the score 25-20.
Fair (four), Phillips (four), Rys (three) and Gray (three) combined for each of the Skyhawks’ 14 kills as UT Martin compiled a .300 attack percentage in the second set.
The Skyhawks began the third set with four straight points before the Blazers eventually tied the score at 6-6. UT Martin popped right back to record seven of the next 10 points, taking a 13-9 advantage in the process. UAB did not waver and eventually came back to tie the score at 19-all. Following a 20-20 tie, Fair rose to the occasion and deflated the Blazer comeback bid, slamming down three kills to wrap up the set and give the Skyhawks the clean sweep.
Seven different UT Martin players pitched in with a kill in the final set as the Skyhawks sided out at 61 percent (13-of-21).
UT Martin will look to continue its momentum on Saturday, Sept. 9 when it takes on a pair of opponents. The Skyhawks will take on Indiana at 10 a.m. before facing host Evansville at 6:30 p.m.