With a three-set sweep of Austin Peay State Tuesday, Racer volleyball clinched the regular season championship 14-1 and will host the OVC Tournament beginning Nov. 20.
The Racers won 12 straight matches after dispatching Austin Peay at home and UT Martin Nov. 7, and Southeast Missouri State Saturday.
The first set began with outside hitter, Scottie Ingram taking control. Ingram led with seven points in the first 10 minutes of the game before Austin Peay took its first point.
The Racers easily took the first set 25-18. The next two sets gave Murray State a tough run. In the end they pulled away, winning the second set 25-15 and finally the third set 25-21.
Head Coach David Schwepker said the team braced for a tough time because Austin Peay was the only team in the OVC to defeat the Racers in the regular season, sweeping Murray State in three sets Sept. 30 in Clarksville, Tenn.
“Austin Peay took away a couple of their big players,” Schwepker said. “I thought it would be to our advantage but it took us back. The girls did a good job of changing their lineup and using it to their advantage.”
With only one game left before the OVC Tournament, the team is preparing for one last game against Morehead State, who is 2-12 in the OVC. Schwepker said they are only focusing on the next game against Morehead State and won’t think about the tournament until it begins.
“Our chemistry was great this year,” Ingram said. “When I’m on the court I know exactly what I’m doing. We knew this game was a revenge match and we just looked up and something sparked, we knew we wanted it and it showed in us.”
Schwepker said he is looking to see setter Sam Bedard, right side hitter Kristen Besselsen and outside hitter and defensive specialist Taylor Olden help lead the team into a good tournament weekend.
He said Bedard and Besselsen are two players that lead the team every game and he sees Olden as a silent leader. Crowds can clearly see what she is capable of by assisting in points every game.
“We’ve worked so hard for so long,” Besselsen said. “We are so happy that all the hard work at practice has paid off. I’m excited to see the tournament here. We will take it one game at a time and will not take any of them lightly.”
After clinching the match Tuesday night, Athletic Director Allen Ward presented the team the regular season conference award.
“It is so awesome to get that trophy,” Ingram said. “It is nice to be undefeated at home. We have pushed through the season and won. Now we’re just looking to finish this weekend and take on the tournament, hopefully taking it through to the end.”
The Racers are preparing for Saturday’s match against Morehead State in Morehead, Ky. The OVC Tournament runs Nov. 20-22 in Racer Arena.
“We clean our floor,” Schwepker said. “This is our floor and we sweep and mop the floor every week. I hope that it keeps them grounded. At this point we’re only preparing for Morehead State and then we’re only thinking about the next game. I hope this rubs off on them and they take pride in the arena. Everyone knows we are good, it just makes it exciting.”
Story by Kelsey Randolph, Assistant Sports Editor