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MARTIN, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee at Martin volleyball team closes out a four-match road swing this weekend when it travels to Austin Peay and Murray State for a pair of Ohio Valley Conference showdowns. The Skyhawks will take on Austin Peay at 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 3 before heading to Murray State for a 2 p.m. match on Saturday, Nov. 4.
With four matches remaining in the regular season, UT Martin (11-14, 5-7 OVC) is in a tie for eighth place in the OVC standings with Southeast Missouri. The Skyhawks are one win away from sixth place and a mere two victories from fifth place in the league standings.
UT Martin began its four-match road trip last week with a pair of tough 3-2 losses at Southeast Missouri (26-24, 25-22, 23-25, 22-25, 10-15) and at Jacksonville State (25-20, 25-19, 20-25, 18-25, 11-15). Jemima Idemudia collected team-highs of 29 kills (2.90 per set) and 13 blocks (1.30 per set) in the two matches, including a season-high 21-kill effort at Southeast Missouri that was just one kill shy of her career-high total.
Justine Walker (21 kills, 2.10 per set) and Megan Fair (22 kills, 2.20 per set) also each had back-to-back double-digit kill performances last week while Brooke Gyori (42 digs, 4.20 per set) led the Skyhawk defense. Kenzie Hinshaw also secured 26 digs (2.60 per set) – including a career-best 18 scoops as part of a double-double (23 assists) at Jacksonville State.
Idemudia ranks in the top-10 in the OVC in blocks (1.27 per set, first), points (3.76 per set, sixth), attack percentage (.286, eighth) and kills (2.98 per set, 10th). Gyori’s 4.59 digs per set average ranks second in the league while the freshman duo of Walker (1.14 blocks per set in conference play, fourth) and Hinshaw (6.34 assists per set, seventh) also rank in the top-10 in their respective statistical categories for UT Martin, who leads the OVC in blocks per set (2.74) in league play.
Austin Peay (23-4, 11-1 OVC) has won six straight matches, as the Governors are ranked 17th in this week’s VolleyballMag.com Mid-Major Poll and sport a program-record 56 NCAA RPI. Ashley Slay (4.0 kills per set on a .403 attack percentage) and Kristen Stucker (11.50 assists per set guiding a .286 team attack percentage) were named adidas OVC Offensive Player and Setter of the Week, respectively, on Monday. Austin Peay leads the OVC and ranks eighth nationally in kills (13.78 per set) thanks in large part to the duo of Slay (first in the OVC with 4.47 points per set in league play) and Stucker (third nationally with 11.29 assists per set).
Murray State comes into the week with a 16-8 overall record, sitting in fourth place in the OVC with an 8-4 mark. The Racers have won four of their last five decisions, as Rachel Holthaus guided the Racer offense with 30 kills (3.33 per set) on a .338 attack percentage last week. Becca Fernandez (55 digs, 6.11 per set) and Callie Anderton (11.6 assists per set, 3.11 digs per set) are also coming off big weekend performances. Rachel Giustino leads the league in kills (4.17 per set) and points (4.74 per set) for Murray State, who leads the OVC in service aces (1.60 per set) and digs per set in conference play (17.77).
Both matches this weekend will be streamed live, free of charge, on the OVC Digital Network. Those links and live stats links can be found at the top of the webpage.