UAB Defeats Marshall, 3-2; Win Streak Reaches Seven

Sam Skinner posted a career-high 17 kills

Oct. 19, 2012

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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. ---- The UAB volleyball team kept on rolling, capturing its seventh straight win, this time against Conference USA foe Marshall on Friday night at the Cam Henderson Center.

UAB (14-11, 6-3 C-USA) not only won its seventh consecutive contest, but fifth against a league opponent.  The loss for Marshall dropped the Thundering Herd to 16-7 overall and 6-3 in conference play.  The Blazers were the first team to defeat the Herd on its home court this season as Marshall entered the night a perfect 9-0 at home.

“We really took advantage in the fifth set of being able to take care of the ball,” head coach Kerry Messersmith said.  “We only had one hitting error, while Marshall had five.”

The two squads jockeyed back and forth as each team claimed a set each entering the third stanza.  The third frame did not fair well for the Green and Gold, as Marshall exploded hitting .483 as a club, compared to just .071 by the Blazers.  Marshall’s Laura Der recorded 11 of her match-high 26 kills in the set as the Herd cruised to a 25-10 win.

The Blazers were able to rebound and win a closely contested fourth set, 25-23, in a frame that featured nine ties, to send the match to a fifth and deciding game.

“I give our kids credit a lot of credit,” Messersmith said.  “After getting beat so bad in third set and coming back out and winning the next two showed a lot about the character and will of this team.”

In the fifth and final set, the score squared up at 11-all. Marshall made three errors, along with Ally Slaughter putting away one of her four kills in the set to give UAB deciding game by a 15-12 score.

“Marshall did a great job of serving and keeping us out of system,” Messersmith said.  “We really struggled with our confidence in serving.  We put together a really good five or six match span where we served really well, but we have struggled in that area over the last two matches.”

It was a team effort for the Blazers in the victory, as 12 different players saw game action.  Leading the offense was redshirt-freshman Sam Skinner, who put away a team-best and career-high 17 kills.  Skinner added six digs and three blocks in the win.

“Sam Skinner has really established herself as a go-to terminator,” Messersmith said.  “She is still a freshman, and she is going to make some errors, but she has really done a nice job and has been that put-away player that we’ve needed on the outside.”

Offensively, Messersmith was pleased with the team’s ability to adapt to a variety of different looks and schemes so far this season.

“It has been interesting for us and says a lot about out kids for being so flexible and playing in a number of different systems,” Messersmith said.  “We’ve won in a 6-2, 5-1 with Alison (Woods) as our setter and a 5-1 with Becca (Howard) as our a setter.  Our kids have really handled it well.”

Also reaching double digit kills for UAB was Sam Serley who notched 11 for the match, as the senior was recently named one of 10 finalists for the Senior CLASS Award from across the country.

Both setters, Alison Woods and Becca Howard, recorded double-doubles in the victory while splitting duties running the offense.  Woods dished out 20 helpers and added 15 digs, while Howard spread out 24 assists and 11 digs.

 Topping the Blazers in digs on the night was libero Rachel Fairbanks, who dug a total of 19 balls.

Marshall featured three players in double-digit kills, led by Der’s 26.  The outside hitter also posted 16 digs for a double-double.  Also posting a double-double for the Herd was setter Sammie Bane, who recorded a match-high 58 assists and 10 digs in the loss.