Blazers Corral Mustangs To Win Ninth Straight

Sam Skinner posted career highs in kills (22) and digs (16)

Oct. 25, 2012

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. ---- The UAB volleyball team received a career night from Sam Skinner and a balanced effort from the rest of the squad as the Blazers captured their ninth consecutive win, 3-2 (18-25, 25-15, 25-17, 20-25, 15-12) against SMU on Thursday night at Bartow Arena.

Not only was it the ninth straight win for the Blazers, it marked their seventh C-USA victory in a row to improve to 16-11 overall and 8-3 in conference play.

Sam Skinner put away a career-high 22 kills, which also marked the most by a Blazer in 2012.  The redshirt-freshman hit .298 for the match, committing only five errors on 57 attacks.  Skinner recorded her third double-double of the season, as she also posted a career-high in digs with 16.

“Sam (Skinner) passed well, had a double-double and played great defense for us,” head coach Kerry Messersmith said.  “As we have gone along this season, it has become more important to have her out on the floor all the way around.”

The Blazers also received strong play from their two right-side hitters in Michele Simmons and Ashley Ricks. The duo combined for 20 kills and made just five errors and adding six blocks.

“The key for us tonight was that our right sides stepped up for us,” Messersmith said. “I think we always knew the team was strongest running the 6-2 offense, we just haven’t had both our right sides clicking at the same time.”

Another duo that produced was the setting combo of Alison Woods and Becca Howard.  The two floor generals combined for 61 assists and 15 digs in the victory.

UAB hit .283 as a team for the match totaling 12 blocks, while holding SMU (8-15, 5-6 C-USA) to a .210 attacking clip and seven swats.

Caroline Young the Mustangs and the match in kills with 24 and hit .346 on 52 swings.  Setter Olivia Bailey contributed a double-double, dishing out 55 helpers and posting 17 digs.

Next up for the Blazers is a road trip to play the Tulsa Golden Hurricane, who tops C-USA with a 10-1 record vs. league opponents.

“Our kids are playing with a lot more confidence and they should be,” Messersmith said.  “I think tonight was big for us because we played well in our 6-2 (rotation).  The last eight or nine matches we have gone back and forth and tonight we really settled into it.  Both of our setters (Alison Woods and Becca Howard) did a great job of distributing the ball for us tonight.”