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Skyhawks rally from first-set losses

Skyhawks rally from first-set losses

Posted: Wednesday, October 5, 2011 12:02 pm

The University of Tennessee at Martin volleyball team shook off a slow start and bounced back strong to claim a 3-1 Ohio Valley Conference victory over rival Murray State on Saturday.
After falling in the first set by a score of 25-20, the Skyhawks (9-7, 4-2 OVC) cut down on their errors to claim consecutive 25-23, 25-23 and 25-21 decisions.
UT Martin also dropped the first set on Friday night to Southeast Missouri before recovering to earn the 3-1 victory.
Ashley Doherty led the team in kills for the 10th straight match, compiling 16 kills against only four errors in 38 attacks (.316 hitting percentage). Kelly Hogan posted her second straight double-figure kill match (14), while Britany Wilburn and Emily Keaton added 11 kills apiece for the Skyhawks, who hit .199 as a team (61 kills, 26 errors, 176 attempts).
Defensively, UT Martin featured four players with double-digit digs, led by Kasey Elswick’s 21. Emily Keaton tallied a career-best 16 digs, while Jenna Miller (15) and Kelly Hogan (12). Miller (48 assists) and Keaton chalked up double-doubles for the Skyhawks.
The Skyhawks scored four of the first five points in the first set, then led by as many as six (12-6) before Murray State rallied to take nine of the next 11 points to lead 15-14. The Racers pushed their lead out to 24-19 and claimed the first set before UTM could recover.
Wilburn (four kills), Hogan (three) and Doherty (three) each opened up the match with strong offensive performances, but the team could only muster an .077 hitting percentage.
UTM once again started out strong in the second set, leading 5-1 and holding an advantage all the way up until the Racers tied the score at 14-apiece.
Eight more ties followed until back-to-back attack errors by Murray State gave the Skyhawks a 24-22 lead. After a kill by the Racers, Wilburn closed out the set with a kill to even the match at 1-1.
Back-to-back kills by Doherty opened up the third set for UT Martin, but Murray State snatched a 4-3 lead. The score was tied at 5-all until consecutive kills by Wilburn ignited a 4-1 Skyhawk run.
UT Martin kept its lead until the Racers tallied five unanswered points to take a 16-13 lead. The Skyhawks trailed 21-15 before a strong final push captured the third set victory.
The Skyhawks were down 23-22 until kills by Doherty, Wilburn and Hogan capped off the UT Martin win. Doherty was red-hot in the set, tallying seven kills (against no errors).
UT Martin coasted early in the fourth set before having to fight off a Murray State comeback attempt.
The Skyhawks took leads of 10-3, 16-5 and 21-8, but the Racers fought back to score 12 of the next 14 points to make the score 23-20.
After a service error and kill by the Racers, Doherty fittingly ended the match with her team-leading 16th kill of the afternoon to send UT Martin to its second straight OVC victory in as many nights.
The Skyhawks will continue their season-long five-match homestand next weekend with matchups against OVC rivals Eastern Illinois (Friday) and SIU Edwardsville (Saturday). Published in The WCP 10.4.11

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