MARTIN, Tenn. - The University of Tennessee at Martin volleyball team wasn't able to capitalize on the momentum from its second place finish at last week's Adidas Classic when Arkansas State dampened the home opener excitement with a 3-0 (25-22, 25-18, 25-17) win Tuesday night at the Fieldhouse. In the match, reigning Ohio Valley Conference Offensive Player of the Week Ashley Doherty led the way with nine kills, while Christen Clements added eight.
"Our youth really showed tonight," said UT Martin head coach Darrin McClure of the Skyhawks performance. "Arkansas State was able to take us out of our game and made us come from behind all night."
The Skyhawks, who are the nation's third youngest team, fall to 5-3 on the year, while Arkansas State improved its overall record to 6-1.
In the opening frame neither team was able to pull out to an early advantage as the score was tied eight times before the Skyhawks broke a 10-10 stalemate courtesy of a Britany Wilburn and Lauren Montague block. UT Martin used that block to spark a 5-0 run and take a 15-0 edge. Arkansas State answered back with a run of its own to knot the score once again at 17 apiece and force a timeout from McClure.
Coming out of the timeout, Wilburn connected with a kill down the line but the Red Wolves were able to answer again and tie the score five more times. Arkansas State then moved back in front and stretched its lead to 23-21, forcing UT Martin to call its second timeout of the set. Jenna Miller pulled the Skyhawks back within one at 23-22 with a quick set over the net, but a serving error gave Arkansas State a set point opportunity which they were able to capitalize on and take the first set 25-22.
In the back-and-forth first set the score was tied 14 times and the lead changed hands on four different occasions. At the net Wilburn led the way for the Skyhawks with four kills, while Doherty added three.
In the second set Arkansas State was able to take the early 6-3 edge but a Montague kill helped spark a UT Martin run that pulled the score within one four different times before a Red Wolves hitting error tied the set at 12-12. UT Martin couldn't continue the run though as Arkansas State was able to again push its lead out, this time to five at 19-14. Clements connected on a kill down the line but it wasn't enough though as the Red Wolves were able hold off the UT Martin comeback effort and close out the set 25-18.
In the second UT Martin hit only .045 as a team despite Clements connecting on four kills and Doherty adding three.
The Skyhawks opened the third set by allowing Arkansas State to build an early 8-0 lead. That forced McClure to take a timeout and coming out of it Doherty answered right away with a kill down the middle. UT Martin began to chip away at the Red Wolves lead, pulling it within six at 11-5. The Red Wolves countered though and were able to push their lead back out to nine at 20-11. Arkansas State then held its lead at seven or better before eventually closing out the set 25-17 and taking the match in straight sets.
On the night the Skyhawks hit .136 and in addition to Doherty and Clements at the net, Wilburn and Montague each added seven and five kills respectively. On defense Kasey Elswick recorded 20 digs and Kelly Hogan added 15. Miller also finished the night with 30 assists.
UT Martin will have this weekend off from competition before returning to the court Monday, Sept. 4, at Evansville. The Skyhawks and Purple Aces are currently tied 5-5 in the all-time series but UT Martin has won three of the last four meetings and will look to continue that trend.
UT Martin Sports Information