MARTIN, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee at Martin volleyball squad battled this evening but fell in four sets (21-25, 24-26, 25-19, 17-25) to Eastern Kentucky in Ohio Valley Conference action at Skyhawk Fieldhouse.
Kenzie Hinshaw tallied the eighth double-double of her freshman campaign tonight, securing 31 assists and 12 digs for UT Martin (10-12, 4-5 OVC). Megan Fair (15) and Jemima Idemudia (13) both reached double-figures in the kill column while Brooke Gyori (21 digs), Jamie Rys (11 digs) and Macy Catlett (10 digs) guided the Skyhawk defense.
Kills by Idemudia, Hinshaw and Macy Reigelsperger helped UT Martin jump out to a 3-1 lead in the opening set. The Colonels responded with five unanswered points but the Skyhawks came right back with a 5-0 run of their own as Idemudia had two kills and two assisted blocks during the surge. Eastern Kentucky slowly whittled away UT Martin’s advantage and eventually claimed a 16-12 lead until a putaway by Reigelsperger trimmed the Skyhawk deficit to one point. A Kelly Lean service ace and Hannah Phillips kill kept the margin at one point late but the Colonels scored four of the last five points of the set.
Idemudia accumulated four kills and three blocks in the first stanza to guide UT Martin.
Neither side could gain a sizeable lead in the early phases of the second set, as Eastern Kentucky’s 9-6 lead was the first time either team would lead by more than two points. A Justine Walker kill evened the score at 12-all but the Colonels accounted for five of the next six points to claim a 17-13 edge. Idemudia was responsible for three kills over the next four Skyhawk points while Fair delivered three kills in the span of four UT Martin points soon thereafter to help will the Skyhawks to a 23-23 tie. Rachel Noffsinger generated a rally killer to keep the score even at 24-all but Eastern Kentucky managed back-to-back points to take a 2-0 lead in the match.
Fair had seven of UT Martin’s 19 kills in the second set while Hinshaw handed out 10 assists and Gyori scooped up six digs.
Two Gray kills sandwiched around a Hinshaw service ace provided the Skyhawks with a 3-0 lead to begin the third set. The Colonels reversed their deficit by tallying a 10-4 run, leading by a 16-11 margin until a lengthy UT Martin run flipped the momentum. Behind server Gyori, the Skyhawks scored the first eight points of a 12-1 run, as Fair had four kills in the first seven points to result in a 23-17 UT Martin advantage. A kill by Rys wrapped up the set and kept the Skyhawks alive by forcing a fourth set.
Gyori came away with 10 digs in the third set alone while Fair (five kills) and Hinshaw (10 assists, six digs) also shined for UT Martin.
The Skyhawks were right in the thick of things in the fourth set until Eastern Kentucky reeled off an 8-0 run midway through the set and UT Martin could not recover. Three straight Colonel attack errors lifted the Skyhawks to a 6-5 lead but Eastern Kentucky soon took a 13-10 advantage. Idemudia posted a kill to halt the Colonel momentum as UT Martin closed within a point at 15-14. However, the Colonels’ aforementioned run followed and the Skyhawks could not get any closer than seven points the rest of the way.
UT Martin’s offense struggled in the fourth set, hitting -.031 with six kills (against seven errors) in 32 swings.
The Skyhawks will look to bounce back on Saturday, Oct. 21 when they host OVC foe Morehead State at 2 p.m.