Morehead, Ky.-Tennessee State volleyball fell short of their goal to claim the Ohio Valley Conference Championship as they were eliminated by UT Martin on Friday night. The Tigers entered Wetherby Gym on the campus of Morehead State University as the No. 2 seed, but lost to the No. 3 Skyhawks 3-1 (22-25, 21-25, 25-20, 18-25).
TSU finishes the season at 18-11, while UTM improved to 19-13 as they move on to play in the Conference Championship game Saturday evening.
Rachel Ambroch led the attack for the Tigers with 12 kills and recorded nine digs. Terakka Walker recorded a double-double with ten kills and 14 digs. Shaquita Williams also had ten kills and finished with six block assists.
In game one, the Skyhawks got out of the gate quickly as they took a 17-9 lead. Shaquita Williams would notch her first kill of the night and started an 8-0 run that would tie the score at 17-17. Calasia Williams held serve during the run which included two service aces. The Skyhawks would once again take the lead, but the Tigers would again claw their way back tying the score at 20-20 and 22-22.
UTM would score the final three points to claim game one 25-22. The Tigers had ten kills with seven errors on 34 attempts for a .088 hitting percentage. The Skyhawks hit .147 on 12 kills, seven errors and 34attempts.
UT Martin picked up where the left off in game two and jumped out to a 20-11 lead. TSU would once again charge back behind three Danielle Howell kills closing the gap to 23-20. The deficit proved to be too big as the Skyhawks claimed a 25-21 win.
UTM hit .400 on 16 kills, two errors and 35 attempts. The Tigers registered 13 kills with nine errors on 34 attempts for a .118 hitting percentage.
Game three saw 13 ties and five lead changes as the Tigers fought to keep their OVC tournament championship dreams alive. Trailing 19-18, TSU used a service ace by Hathorn and kills by Ambroch, Shaquita Williams, Rebecca Moudree and Walker to surge past the Skyhawks to win 25-20.
UT Martin once again started fast in game four using six blocks and ten kills to post a commanding 20-10 lead. As in previous games, the Tigers would try and mount a comeback. TSU went on three mini-runs to climb within five at 22-17, but each ended in service errors allowing UTM to escape with 25-18 victory.
The Tigers were out blocked 15-7.5 and finished with five service aces, opposed to 12 service errors.