#2 UT Wins Second Straight Five Set Battle


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FLORENCE, Ala. - The second-ranked University of Tampa (17-1) volleyball team added another South Region victory when it topped host North Alabama (17-7) by a score of 3-2 to open the UNA Regional Crossover tournament with a win. After defeating Lynn on Sunday in five sets, the Spartans picked up their second consecutive five-frame victory.

In front of a home crowd in a promotional "black out," North Alabama seized the early momentum while winning the first set by a score of 25-16. UNA took a quick 7-2 lead and UT was unable to regain momentum as the Lions held the lead throughout the frame.

Tampa regrouped to take both the second and third sets, by scores of 25-14 and 26-24. After taking a 12-6 advantage in the second set, Tampa led by at least five points for the remainder of the set. The third set was the beginning of a back-and-forth battle as the match tightened up from that point. In the third set, neither team led by more than three points as Tampa won the final three points to erase a 24-23 UNA lead.

With the score tied at 11 apiece in the fourth set, North Alabama took control while going on a 7-2 run. Though the Spartans trimmed the lead to 22-19, UNA took the next three points to take a 25-19 win and force a fifth and deciding set.

The momentum quickly changed as Tampa took a 6-0 lead in the fifth set behind the serving of Gabriela Saade. Four points was the closest the Lions would get as Tampa claimed a 15-8 victory to tilt the match in its favor.

Melissa Vanderhall led Tampa with 19 kills as fellow outside hitter Annalea Warren contributed 12 off the bench. Saade accounted for 37 of the team's 48 assists while sharing the team lead of two service aces with her sister Camila Saade.

Julie Howlett had a team-high 17 digs while Vanderhall added 13.Sam Macks had five blocks, including two block solos. Vanderhall also had four.

UT concludes play at the tournament on Saturday in a pair of matches. The Spartans will meet #20 West Florida at 12:30 p.m., followed by a 5:30 p.m. matchup with Alabama-Huntsville. Live stats for both matches will be available through www.tampaspartans.com. Fans may also sign up for eScores through the website, a free service that sends text messages on Spartan athletic events.

Article courtesy of Tampa athletics.

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