Volleyball Claims LaQuinta Inn & Suites Highlander Invitational Title

Photo courtesy of sports information

Photo courtesy of sports information

Despite dropping a five-set match earlier on Saturday to St. Francis (Pa.), the Murray State Volleyball team took down host Radford in straight sets during the nightcap to claim the 2012 LaQuinta Inn & Suites Highlander Invitational tournament title on tie-breaker.

The Racers (2-4) opened play on Saturday by dropping the first two sets of their opening match with St. Francis (3-3). However, Murray State refused to go quietly and rallied to win the next two sets, knotting the game at two all. However, in the deciding set the Red Flash opened with a 7-0 run that the Racers were never able to recover, eventually handing MSU a 15-7 set loss and 3-2 (25-21, 25-23, 22-25, 20-25, 15-7) match defeat.

Freshman Taylor Olden (Lincoln, Ill) and senior Lia Havili (Haltom City, Texas) each notched double-doubles in the match, with 11 kills and 11 digs for Olden and 17 assists and 10 digs for Havili.

In the tournament final with the hosts, Murray State once again found its offensive stroke and took down the Highlanders (4-3) in three sets (25-12, 25-23, 25-16). It was one of the most impressive outings of the young season for MSU, as they turned in a 2012-high attack percentage of .279. The Racers ended the match of 43 kills, 55 digs and another season-high of 14.0 team blocks.

Olden and fellow freshman Emily Schmahl (Edgewood, Ky.) paced the Racers with 10 kills each, while junior Katlyn Hudson (Columbus, Ind.) and freshman Kristen Besselsen (St. Louis, Mo.) had a game-high 12 digs each. Havili helped power the Murray State offense in the match with 33 assists, while freshman Alyssa Lelm (Mackinaw, Ill.) contributed to the defense with two solo blocks and six block assists.

Following the match, Havili was named as the tournament’s most valuable player, while Olden was named to the all-tournament team. Havili had 72 assists and 25 digs on the weekend, while Olden 29 kills, 23 digs and seven block assists.

Following the match, head coach David Schwepker talked about his team’s play on the weekend and what it means going forward.

“These early season tournament are all about finding what works,” said Schwepker. “Tonight, after adjusting the line-up all weekend, I think we finally found what works for us. I am very proud of our team for coming out in the final match the way they did, after losing earlier in the day. This tournament not only showed us which line-up was the best for our team, but it gave a huge boost in confidence as well.”

The Racers will return to action on Tuesday in their lone outing of the week, a non-conference, regional match-up at Evansville. The match is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.

Story courtesy of sports information