UAB Blazers Claims First Two in Hail State Invitational
STARKVILLE, Miss. – The UAB volleyball team cruised past its first two opponents on day one of the Hail State Invitational, sweeping North Florida and later topping Jackson State, 3-1. The pair of wins boosted the Blazers to 8-4 this season heading into a matchup with host Mississippi State on Friday.
“Our team played high-level volleyball throughout the entirety of the day, and that’s what I’m most happy about,” said coach Amy Pauly. “It’s hard to play two matches in a day, and they really stepped up and played well. We’re going to have to play our best volleyball of the season tomorrow to compete with Mississippi State.”
Redshirt junior outside hitter Emma Mitchell continues to be the focal point of the Blazer attack as she led the squad in kills in both matches, totaling 23 kills on the day. The Charlotte, N.C., native contributed all around throughout the day, also adding 14 digs and seven blocks.
“Emma continues to grow and mature with every match that we play,” said Pauly. “She is contributing in every aspect of the game and being a great leader on the floor.”
On the defensive side, redshirt sophomore Anna D’Cruz is still UAB’s anchor as she piled up 12 total blocks on top of her 16 kills on the day. Sophomore libero Brianna Muller followed up her breakout performances a week ago with more steady play as she totaled 26 digs through both contests.
Match 1: UAB 3, North Florida 0
As UAB took care of North Florida in the sweep, the Blazers led the match in digs (41-35), aces (10-6) and blocks (10-4) for the unblemished win.
UAB struck first to begin the initial set of the match and kept the Ospreys at bay up to a 16-10 lead. Despite North Florida heating up to go on a nine-point run soon after, UAB contained the Ospreys and later went on a six-point run to claim the first frame, 25-21.
North Florida started off hot in the second set before four straight points from the Blazers closed the gap to a 9-7 Osprey lead. UAB then managed to take its first lead of the set while stringing together three straight points for a 17-15 advantage. The Blazers didn’t give up the lead beyond that point, pushing ahead until snagging the set by five, 25-20.
The third set was even early on, but UAB took the first notable advantage after a five-point run to lead 10-7. With each response from North Florida beyond that point, the Blazers answered back to maintain the lead throughout the rest of the set. UAB clinched the sweep with a final kill from junior outside hitter Abby Carlile to win the frame, 25-21, and the match, 3-0.
Match 2: UAB 3, Jackson State 1
The overall team stats were tight between the Blazers and Tigers as UAB held the advantage in blocks (10-7) and aces (6-3).
Neither side created much separation in set one until UAB went on a five-point run to take a 20-14 lead. The Blazers kept the pressure on after that, going on to take the set, 25-19.
Set two was much of the same as UAB slowly pulled away with short bursts of three and four points to double Jackson State, 16-8. The Tigers put together a pair of four-point runs to close the gap and later tie things up, but the Blazers then finished things off to claim the frame, 25-22.
The third set looked like the previous two early on as UAB went up 15-10, but Jackson State responded with a few runs to take a 20-19 lead. The Blazers could only tie things up beyond that point as the Tigers went on to pick up a 25-22 win in set three.
UAB rallied back in the fourth set, jumping out to an 11-4 lead after a five-point run. As the two sides traded blows, Jackson State put forth a final burst to draw within one, but the Blazers added three straight points to clinch the set, 25-21, and the match, 3-1.
Article by UAB Communications