MEMPHIS, Tenn. – The University of Memphis volleyball squad takes to the road for the first time in 2018, traveling to Martin, Tenn., to compete in Skyhawk Invitational this weekend. The trip outside the Bluff City comes after the Tigers opened the 2018 campaign with four consecutive home matches.
Memphis is one of five teams in this weekend’s tournament field, joining host UT Martin, Central Arkansas, Florida A&M and UAB.
Memphis Schedule In Skyhawk Invitational
|Aug.31/Friday||vs. Florida A&M||11 am|
|at UT Martin||5 pm|
|Sept. 1/Saturday||vs. Central Arkansas||11 am|
|vs. UAB||5 pm|
|Memphis||Central Arkansas||Florida A&M||UAB||UT Martin|
|Series Record||—||UM leads 7-3||First Meeting||UM leads 35-20||UM leads 36-5|
|Kills Leader||Hannah Flowers, 39||Haley Tippett, 39||Maria Yvett Garcia, 36||Emily Rudolph, 24||Gintar Mackeviciute, 38|
|Assists Leader||Molly Murrihy, 135||Elizabeth Armstrong, 117||Ilayda Nurkan, 51||Shelby Holderfield, 90||Kenzie Hinshaw, 105|
|Digs Leader||Kaitlyn Gehler, 46||Emily Doss, 46||Valentina Carrasco, 55||Emily Martinez, 26||Brooke Gyori, 64|
|Blocks Leader||Kelsey Walter, 13||Savanah Allen, 14||Aybuke Kocabiyik, 13||Emily Rudolph, 13||2 players, 7|
Head coach Sean Burdette comments
“We have quick turnarounds in the tournament at Martin, playing at 11 am and 5 pm both days. There’s not a lot of scouting time and opportunities to make adjustments (between matches). You have to make most changes on the fly.
“In early-season tournaments like we hosted last week and at UT Martin this weekend, you don’t have as much knowledge and data on the teams. We’re seeing the teams for the first time playing live in the tournament. You’re making quick adjustments and hoping the team can do that also. More than anything, these first couple of weekends are more about controlling your play, your side and minimizing errors. Those are the biggest things.
“We need to look to be more aggressive when attacking out-of-system, when it’s not a perfect pass instead of just keeping the ball in play. We have to get some scoring opportunities out of those situations. I want to see our team defense take a step in the right direction. We have to block more balls. They don’t have to be stuff blocks, we just need to have more touches at the net and take up some more space.”
- The Tigers have played Central Arkansas, UAB and UT Martin six times combined the past two seasons. Memphis is 4-2 in those match-ups.
- Memphis plays in Martin, Tenn., this weekend for the first time since 2003.
- The Tigers all-time record when playing in Martin, Tenn., is 16-1. Memphis played in three tournaments at UT Martin in 1977 (two tournaments) and 1978 (one). The Tigers logged an 8-1 record in those three tournaments, with the only setback a 2-1 loss to Tennessee Tech in the UT Martin Invitational in late September 1977. The other eight trips to Martin, Tenn., were to play the Skyhawks in a regular-season match.
- Hannah Flowers is nearing 300 kills for her career. After her 16 kills versus Alabama A&M Wednesday, the sophomore outside hitter now has 296 for her career.
- After only four matches into 2018, Hannah Flowers has nearly tripled her service aces output of a year ago. Flowers has 13 aces this season, including a career-high five against Alabama A&M Wednesday. Last season, Flowers totaled only five aces.
- Senior Sarah Marlatt knocked down a career-high 14 kills versus Alabama A&M. Her previous best was nine kills in four matches last season.
- Four Tigers are among the American Athletic Conference statistical leaders heading into this weekend’s action. They are: Sarah Marlatt (6th) and Kelsey Walter (10th) in hitting percentage, Molly Murrihy (1st) in assists and Hannah Flowers (1st) in service aces.
- Memphis, as a team, leads the American Athletic Conference in service aces (27 total; 1.93 per set).