CHARLESTON, Ill. – The University of Tennessee at Martin volleyball team received a double-double from freshman setter Kenzie Hinshaw today but the Skyhawks fell in four sets (14-25, 22-25, 25-18, 25-15) at Eastern Illinois.
As a team, UT Martin (9-10, 3-3 Ohio Valley Conference) hit just .065 with 27 attack errors today. Jemima Idemudia compiled 14 kills for the second straight match today but she was the only Skyhawk to reach double-figures in the kill column as Hannah Phillips’ nine kills were the next-highest total for UT Martin.
Hinshaw’s 22 assists and 10 digs today marked her sixth double-double of the season. Brooke Gyori (match-high 22 digs), Megan Fair (16 digs), Justine Walker (match-best seven blocks) and Idemudia (six blocks) led the way for the Skyhawk defense this afternoon.
Macy Reigelsperger had back-to-back kills during the early stages of the first set to give UT Martin a 5-4 advantage. The Panthers responded with a 7-1 run but the Skyhawks were able to get back within two points after a 5-2 surge made the score 13-11. However, UT Martin could not pause the Eastern Illinois momentum as the Panthers compiled 10 of the final 12 points in the set.
Gyori came away with five digs in the opening set to pace the Skyhawks.
UT Martin opened up an 8-4 advantage to begin the second stanza as four of its five points during one stretch came via blocks at the net. Two straight Eastern Illinois attack errors helped the Skyhawks keep a comfortable four-point lead at 16-12 before the Panthers came back to even the score at 18-all. A pair of Phillips kills – sandwiched around an assisted block by Walker and Reigelsperger – opened up a 21-18 UT Martin advantage but Eastern Illinois was able to take its first lead of the set at 22-21 as part of a 7-1 run to round out the second stanza.
Jamie Rys was responsible for six of the Skyhawks’ 30 digs in the second set as Gyori and Fair each chipped in five scoops apiece.
Idemudia made sure that UT Martin got off on the right foot in the third set as the senior middle blocker had four kills during a 7-2 Skyhawk lead. The Panthers soon got within two points (12-10) but Walker had a hand in three blocks over a stretch of four points to help the Skyhawks stretch their lead out to 15-10. Once again, UT Martin’s lead was trimmed to two points at 17-15 but the Skyhawks did not waver – wrapping up the set on an 8-3 run that included six points off Eastern Illinois errors.
UT Martin’s offense was guided by Idemudia’s six kills in the third set while Gyori generated seven digs to lead the Skyhawk defensive attack.
The Panthers scored four of the first five points in the fourth set, eventually settling on a 10-4 lead before UT Martin could piece together back-to-back points. A solo block by Walker and kill by Phillips temporarily stopped Eastern Illinois’ momentum but the Panthers soon raced out to a 17-8 advantage. Idemudia then popped off four straight kills for the Skyhawks but the hole was too deep for UT Martin to dig itself out of as the Panthers ended the match with five of the last six points.
Idemudia’s five putaways in the final set led the Skyhawk offense.
UT Martin concludes its four-match road trip next weekend with a pair of matchups against OVC rivals from the Music City. The Skyhawks travel to Belmont on Friday, Oct. 13 before taking on Tennessee State on Saturday, Oct. 14.