UTM volleyball team splits final day of Country Inn and Suites Invitational

UTM volleyball team splits final day of Country Inn and Suites Invitational

The UTM volleyball team closed out a successful weekend by splitting a pair of matches against in-state foes at the Country Inn and Suites Invitational on Saturday. The Skyhawks defeated host Chattanooga 3-2 (23-25, 25-18, 25-16, 22-25, 15-9) in the afternoon and fell to Tennessee 3-1 (29-27, 20-25, 20-25, 17-25) to take three out of four in the tournament and sit at 6-2 overall on the season.

Following the conclusion of the last match of the tournament, Amanda Crask and Emily Keaton were named to the all-tournament team. It was the second time Keaton has been named to an all-tournament squad in as many weekends.

Against Chattanooga, five Skyhawks eclipsed the double-digit kill mark, led by Keaton’s 17 kills. Crask tallied the second triple-double of her career with a career-high 15 kills, career-high 52 assists and 12 digs. Lynsey Hazelwood (12 kills), Shelby Hoskins (11) and Allie Whimpey (11) also reached double-figures in the kill column today.

Bowles registered 23 digs to lead five Skyhawks with double-figure dig totals. One day after setting a career-high in digs, Hazelwood once again achieved a career-high with 15 digs. Larson was responsible for 15 digs as well, while Keaton completed her double-double with 14 digs.

Against Tennessee, Whimpey led the way with 11 kills, while Keaton added 10 kills. Hazelwood, Julia Devinney and Crask also recorded eight kills apiece. Crask hit .412 (one error in 17 attempts) while also collecting 39 assists and a career-best 18 digs. Bowles accounted for 21 digs while Larson scooped up 14 digs to lead the Skyhawks.

“’Do what we do well’ has been our approach to this season,” said head coach Darrin McClure. “We have worked extensively on getting better offensively. This weekend I felt scoring was not a problem for us. Even against Tennessee, we had more kills than they did – the difference in that match was our errors. Against Chattanooga I couldn’t be more happy about our kills – we did a phenomenal job in that category. Our focus moving forward will be to be more efficient. I am very proud of our effort this weekend.”

Against Chattanooga, the Skyhawks jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the first set before Chattanooga scored six unanswered. UTM then went on a 14-6 run, going on top by a 17-13 margin thanks to a Keaton kill. The Skyhawks went on top by a 23-21 margin but Chattanooga ended the set with four straight points to gain a 1-0 advantage.

Crask’s five kills (against zero errors) in seven attempts paced UT Martin in the first set.

Chattanooga led 7-6 in the second set but the Skyhawks charged back to score four unanswered to take a 10-7 advantage. Chattanooga would get back within a single point at 13-12 but UTM kept charging and never conceded the lead. After UTM led 21-18, the Skyhawks ended the set on a 4-0 run, capped off by a Crask kill to even the match at 1-1.

Crask’s five kills and 10 assists paced UTM in the second set.

A 4-1 start helped the Skyhawks claim an early advantage in the third set, as a 7-1 run later on resulted in a 15-7 UTM advantage. Chattanooga would get within 19-15, but UTM quickly scored six of the last seven points – ending with a Michelle McLaughlin service ace – to take a 2-1 set lead.

Hazelwood, Crask and Whimpey each secured four kills in the third set, helping the Skyhawks hit .250. Crask chipped in with 14 assists off of UTM’s 18 kills.

Chattanooga led 9-4 to start off the fourth set, eventually going on top by a 17-9 margin until a Keaton kill stopped the run. Despite the deficit, UTM kept fighting – getting within two points at 24-22 thanks to two straight kills by Keaton. However, an assisted block by Chattanooga led to a fifth set.

The Skyhawks controlled the fifth set from the beginning, claiming a 4-2 lead early. Chattanooga would slice its deficit to one (7-6) before UTM extended its advantage out to 9-6, forcing Chattanooga to call a timeout. The Skyhawks would soon lead 13-8 and would clinch the victory thanks to a Whimpey kill.

Keaton had five kills to lead UTM in the fifth and final set.

UTM came out fired up in the first set against Tennessee, securing the first five points courtesy of three kills by Devinney. An assisted block by Keaton and Alisha Erves put the Skyhawks on top 8-2 and forced Tennessee to call a timeout. After a Crask service ace put UTM ahead 10-3, Tennessee scored five unanswered points but the Skyhawks were able to take a 17-13 lead behind back-to-back kills by Crask and Erves. Tennessee would later use a 7-2 run to take a 20-19 lead but the Skyhawks battled back to close out the set with three straight kills.

The Skyhawk offense stood out in the first set, as UT Martin hit .296 with 23 kills. Keaton registered six kills while Crask was a perfect 4-for-4 attacking and added 16 assists.

In the second set, UTM jumped out to a 6-4 lead early but Tennessee came back with an 11-0 run to lead 15-6. The Skyhawks were able to claw back within three points when Whimpey and Shelby Hoskins combined for an assisted block to make the score 20-17. However, UTM’s comeback attempt fell just short.

The Skyhawks scored four of the first five points of the third set and would keep the lead until a 5-0 Tennessee run made the score 13-8. Back-to-back kills by Hazelwood and Hoskins sliced the Skyhawk deficit to three at 13-10 but Tennessee would come back with a 5-1 run. UTM would get back within four points on five more occasions but couldn’t get closer than that for the remainder of the set.

UTM took a 9-6 lead to start off the fourth set but Tennessee soon scored four unanswered to start a 8-2 run. Kills from Crask and Keaton brought the Skyhawks back within one at 15-14 until Tennessee pieced together five consecutive points. A Bowles service ace brought UTM back within four at 21-17 but Tennessee accounted for the last four points of the set.

Bowles had nine digs in the fourth set to lead the Skyhawks.

UTM returns to action this weekend (Sept. 13-14), when it will play four matches in the span of two days in a tournament hosted by the University of Alabama.

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