Becker’s 15 kill performance helps Southern past UT Martin

By Tamar Mosby, Sports Reporter

Tonight Southern Volleyball took on the University of Tennessee Martin Skyhawks (3-7) winning the match 3-2. 

The Salukis were led by junior opposite hitter Hannah Becker who tallied 15 kills hitting on.133 percent.

After the game Southern head coach Ed Allen praised her performance and her ability to adapt to the position changes she’s encountered this season due to team injuries.


“I think Hannah Becker did an amazing job,” Allen said. “She tied for the team lead in kills and she’s playing in her third position in about two weeks. She’s play[ed| left, middle and right and she didn’t even get a chance to really practice on the left side, just the 20 minutes she had yesterday. I would say that she is the unsung hero of this game.”

Prior to tonight SIU had a win under its belt from their game Saturday against Alabama State University. The Skyhawks entered the matchup tonight on a four game losing streak with their most recent loss coming from SLU.

Set 1

The Skyhawks got the scoring started by putting down a service ace to earn the first point of the game, but an SIU kill from Becker and a service ace from sophomore defensive specialist Kat Wagner put the Salukis up 2-1.

UT Martin scored three straight points with two of them coming from Southern errors to take the lead at 4-2.

The teams kept play close trading kills and neither side could pull away from the other with a lead larger than two points.

A kill from senior setter Alayna Martin tied the score 9-9, but an attack error on the SIU end gave the Skyhawks a one point advantage.


Neck-and-neck play continued with the score tying four more times as the set progressed.

The Salukis found their footing and went on a three point scoring run to take the biggest lead the set had seen at 20-17.

The run forced UT Martin to call their first timeout of the game, but Southern remained strong after leaving the timeout scoring two more points.

A kill from junior middle hitter Emma Baalman brought the score to 23-18.

After this kill, Southern struggled to score the final two points that would win them the set.

The Skyhawks went on a four point scoring run to make it a one-point game at 23-22 with the Salukis holding onto their lead by a thread.

After the run, SIU appeared to find their footing once again consecutively scoring the final two points they needed to win the game taking it 25-22 over UT Martin.

Set 2

Becker got the second set scoring started as she earned a kill with an assist from Martin.

The score difference amongst the teams never increased by more than two points until the Salukis scored five straight points and took the lead 9-3.

The Skyhawks never regained the lead and Southern continued to increase their score notching nine more kills to win the second set 25-19.

This win gave SIU a 2-0 advantage in the set score with the team only needing to win one more set to take the game.

Set 3

Set three proved to be a struggle for Southern as they began the set being outscored 9-3 by UT Martin with five of the nine points being from Saluki errors.

Errors were the enemy of the Salukis this set as nearly half of the points awarded to the Skyhawks for the remainder of the set were from errors on the opposite end.

“I am really disappointed with our first ball contacts in the third set,” Allen said. “Everything stems from that. There were too many errors and that’s an area that we have to continue to improve on. We have to drop those first balls right on top of our setter’s head so she can have the option to go to all three positions.”

UTM continued to outscore SIU for the remainder of the set as Southern could not recover from the deficit. The Salukis lost the set 25-12.

SIU was able to tally a total of six more kills which was responsible for half of the points they scored in the third set.

Set 4

The fourth set started with attack errors on both ends to tie the score 1-1.

Play early on in the set remained neck-and-neck with the score tying five times before either teams set total reached double-digits.

The Salukis began to pull away on a small scale after outscoring the Skyhawks on a 5-1 scoring run to take a three-point lead.

“We have to begin to reduce the hitting errors,” Allen said. “Also, when we are beginning runs of three or more we have to start forcing the other team to execute to stop the run instead of us committing an error.”

This lead was short lived as UT Martin strung together points to tie the game 11-11.

The teams’ scoring behaviors reverted back to one-point leads and continuous score ties, but, despite this, the Salukis were able to show their skill in attacking the ball as they totaled twelve kills before the game reached an 18-18 tie.

Four of the twelve belonged to Martin, while Becker and junior outside hitter Savannah Sheridan each totaled three. Junior middle hitter Lindsey Paulsen rounded off the twelve with two kills.

After the tie, Becker put the ball down to get her thirteenth kill of the night, but immediately after this kill, the Skyhawks took off on a 6-0 scoring run to take a commanding 24-19 lead.

Despite UTM having match point, Southern held on for a bit longer and put up two more kills with Becker and Sheridan. 

These kills put the score at 24-21, but a Skyhawk kill sealed the deal and gave Ut Martin the set at 25-21.

A set score of 2-2 sent the game into a fifth and final set to decide the winner.

Set 5

Junior setter/hitter Rachel Maguire kicked off set five with a kill to give SIU the first point.

She continued to be a strong presence at the net for Southern in the final set earning two more kills within the next three plays.

Maguire finished the night with 15 kills and 21 assists.

These kills combined with attack errors on the Skyhawk offensive end put the Salukis up 5-2.

Each team battled at the net trading kills and errors, but SIU managed to stay in the lead.

With a service ace and three consecutive kills, UTM tied the game 9-9 and made it a race to 15.

An SIU service ace and a kill from Maguire gave Southern an 11-9 lead bringing the team within four points of victory.

“I think we started the fifth set well,” Allen said. “We did a good job of first ball contacts and we were able to depend on our pin hitters. I think we played more intelligent.”

The Skyhawks put down a kill, but lost the next possession due to an attack error.

With the score at 12-10, the Salukis kept their composure and put up three consecutive points to seal the win over UTM at 15-10.

Southern will take the floor again in Tennessee to compete in the Tennessee Tech Invitational. They will take on the Middle Tennessee University Blue Raiders on Friday at 4 p.m.

Sports reporter Tamar Mosby can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @mosbytamar.

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