Sophomore Sam Skinner tallied 18 kills in the win over North Texas.
Oct. 18, 2013
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - The UAB volleyball team (15-8, 4-3 C-USA) swept North Texas (12-11, 4-3 C-USA) at home on Friday night. The Blazers used efficient hitting to overpower the Mean Green, 3-0 (25-22, 27-25, 25-20).
Providing a huge lift for UAB was sophomore Sam Skinner, who returned the lineup after missing four matches. Skinner led all players with 18 kills while hitting at a clip of .371. Also in double-figures was junior Kiriana Hirini, who landed 11 kills with a .333 attack percentage.
"We were definitely excited to have Sam (Skinner) back," said head coach Kerry Messersmith. "We have obviously missed her the last couple of weeks. She came out and really didn't miss a beat, so we were very excited about that."
Defensively, the Blazers recorded nine total blocks in the win, with Hirini and freshman Gabby Deshotel each assisting with five of those. Senior Rachel Fairbanks scooped up 14 digs to lead UAB, while junior Bethanie Thomas added 10.
"I think our block was something we struggled with on and off the last couple of weeks, but they were on tonight," remarked Messersmith. "The middle blockers did a really nice job of going up and penetrating."
Both teams were evenly matched in the first set, which saw 14 tie scores. UAB was able to pull ahead after a 7-2 run late in the set to take a 22-19 lead. From there, the Blazers remained in control to take the win 25-22.
The second set proved to be more difficult as UAB was down 14-10 and then 17-14. The Blazers kept fighting both teams traded points until it was tied 25-25. UAB's Hirini and Deshotel teamed up for a block to go up by one, then Hirini put down a kill to take the 27-25 win and a 2-0 lead into the break.
The Green and Gold carried its momentum into the third set, jumping out to a 4-0 lead. UAB held onto the lead throughout the final set and won 25-20 to cap off the match. The Blazers put together a well-rounded match in their return home, but still have some improvements to do as conference play continues.
"I was disappointed that we didn't serve well today. We worked really hard on that in practice this week and I was disappointed in that tonight. All in all, I think having Sam back made a big difference and we just hope to get better every match."
UAB will be back in action on Sunday, Oct. 20 at 12 p.m. CT. The Blazers play host to conference foe Marshall in Bartow Arena.