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MARTIN, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee at Martin volleyball squad starts a four-match road swing this week when it pays a visit to Ohio Valley Conference foes Southeast Missouri on Tuesday, Oct. 24 and Jacksonville State on Friday, Oct. 27.
The Skyhawks have won four of the last five matchups against Southeast Missouri, including a 3-1 win (22-25, 27-25, 25-19, 25-20) to kick off OVC play on Sept. 19. Friday’s match will be the first time that UT Martin has faced Jacksonville State this season, as the Skyhawks swept the Gamecocks (25-18, 25-20, 25-23) in the 2016 regular season finale.
UT Martin is coming off a home split last weekend, falling 3-1 to Eastern Kentucky before rebounding for a four-set victory over Morehead State. Jemima Idemudia led the way for the Skyhawks, averaging 3.62 kills per set on a scorching .421 attack percentage while also swatting away 1.50 blocks per set. Brooke Gyori scooped up 21 digs in each match for a 5.25 per set average while Jamie Rys (3.00 digs per set) also reached double-figures in the dig column in each match.
In OVC play, UT Martin ranks atop the league with 2.88 blocks per set thanks in large part to four players in the top-10: Idemudia (1.61 per set, first); Hayley Gray (1.19 per set, third); Justine Walker (1.18, fourth); and Rachel Noffsinger (1.00, 10th). Idemudia’s 4.24 points per set in league play also ranks third while Gyori’s overall digs per set average (4.64) ranks third in the OVC.
Southeast Missouri (8-16, 3-7 OVC) split a pair of three-set decisions last weekend, defeating Morehead State and falling to Eastern Kentucky. Allie Henkelman secured team-highs of 39 assists and 25 digs in the two matches while Krissa Gearring (match-high 18 kills against UT Martin earlier this year) compiled a team-best 23 kills for the Redhawks, who hit .253 for the week. Nzingha Clarke leads the OVC in blocks per set (1.28) while her .388 attack percentage in league play also ranks first for Southeast Missouri, who lead in the conference with 2.33 blocks per set.
Jacksonville State comes into the week with an 18-11 overall record with a 4-6 OVC mark. The Gamecocks have lost three straight decisions, as they saw their nine-match home winning streak snapped against Austin Peay before falling on the road at SIUE (3-1) and at Eastern Illinois (3-2) last weekend. Despite the two setbacks, the duo of Allyson Zuhlke (33) and Kaylee Frear (32) combined for 65 kills while Hannah Kirk scooped up 45 digs for the Gamecocks. Zuhlke ranks fourth in the OVC in both kills per set (3.42) and points per set (3.99).
Tuesday’s match will start at 6:30 p.m. and Friday’s match at 7 p.m. can both be viewed live, free of charge, on the OVC Digital Network. Those links - as well as links for live stats - are available at the top of the webpage.