CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. – The University of Tennessee at Martin won the first two sets this evening at Southeast Missouri but the host Redhawks stormed back to win the match by a 3-2 margin (24-26, 22-25, 25-23, 25-22, 15-10).
Jemima Idemudia secured a season-high 21 kills tonight, hitting .381 with seven blocks in the process. The 21 kills were only one shy of her career-high, falling just short of the 22 she piled up at Eastern Illinois on Nov. 4, 2016.
Macy Reigelsperger (11), Megan Fair (10) and Justine Walker (10) were also responsible for double-digit kills for UT Martin (11-13, 5-6 Ohio Valley Conference) today. Kenzie Hinshaw handed out 37 assists while Kelly Lean served up 19 assists as Brooke Gyori’s 19 digs guided the Skyhawk defensive attack.
UT Martin ran out to a 9-3 lead in the first set but the Redhawks were able to get back within striking distance at 13-10. Kills by Hannah Phillips, Rachel Noffsinger, Reigelsperger, Idemudia and Hinshaw in the span of seven points helped the Skyhawks take a 21-12 advantage but Southeast Missouri answered with an 11-1 run to take a late lead. After UT Martin was threatened with set point (24-23), Phillips corralled two straight kills and Reigelsperger had a set-ending putaway to give the Skyhawks an early 1-0 advantage.
Idemudia (four kills), Hinshaw (eight assists) and Reigelsperger (five digs) paced UT Martin in the opening stanza.
Two Hinshaw service aces resulted in an early 4-0 Skyhawk lead in the second set as UT Martin soon used a 5-0 run to open up a double-digit lead (16-6) over Southeast Missouri. Idemudia had three kills in the stretch of five points as the Skyhawks were on their way to a 2-0 advantage. The Redhawks managed a 9-1 run to pull within a single point (22-21) but Idemudia responded with a kill and back-to-back Southeast Missouri attack errors wrapped up the victory for UT Martin.
Idemudia was efficient in the second set, picking up seven kills with no errors in nine swings (.778 attack percentage) to lead the charge for a Skyhawk offense that hit .310 (only five errors in 42 swings).
Coming out of the intermission, the Redhawks led by a 7-1 margin before tallying a 13-3 lead. UT Martin would not hang its heads, however, as the Skyhawks continually chipped away. UT Martin climbed back within five points at 17-12 but soon found itself behind by a 21-14 margin. A 6-0 Skyhawk run soon ensued, led by a pair of Lean service aces as UT Martin was tied at 23-all and on the verge of a sweep. However, Southeast Missouri was able to compile back-to-back points to force a fourth set.
Gyori amassed six of the Skyhawks’ 20 digs in the third stanza.
UT Martin held a 3-1 lead in the fourth set but the Redhawks unreeled a 5-0 run and did not trail for the remainder of the set. Consecutive rally killers by Idemudia, Walker and Fair evened the tally at 12-12 but Southeast Missouri scored five straight points to build up a 21-15 lead. Walker forcefully slammed down a kill to wrap up a 5-1 Skyhawk run and make the score 22-20 but ultimately that would be as close as UT Martin would get as the match was sent into a decisive fifth set.
Reigelsperger and Hinshaw led the Skyhawks with four kills and 10 assists, respectively, for UT Martin in the fourth set.
Two Idemudia kills and a Walker putaway had the Skyhawks ahead on the scoreboard, 3-1, in the fifth stanza. At one point, Fair had three kills in the span of three UT Martin points but the Skyhawks later found themselves down by an 11-8 margin. Back-to-back kills by Reigelsperger and Idemudia pulled UT Martin back within a single point (11-10) but Southeast Missouri ended the match on a 4-0 streak to complete its comeback.
Idemudia’s four kills led the way for the Skyhawks but the Redhawks accumulated 11 kills with no errors in 18 attempts (.611) in the final set.
UT Martin continues its four-match road swing on Friday, Oct. 27 when it heads to the Yellowhammer State for an OVC matchup against Jacksonville State.