Story by Bryan Edwards, contributing writer
The Murray State women’s volleyball team traveled this weekend for OVC play and began its weekend matching up against the Cougars of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.
With a chance to get above .500 on the season, the Racers prevailed in a five-set thriller over SIUE 3-2 (25-22, 15-25, 23-25, 25-21, 15-12).
Two errors by the Racers to start the match put them down early and let SIUE jump out to an early lead. The Cougars capitalized on those errors and jumped out to an early 9-4 lead in the first set.
The Racers called a timeout, trailing 14-10 and took advantage of three SIUE errors to tie the score at 16-16 leading to an SIUE timeout. The Racers jumped out for their first lead of the game after the timeout and kept that lead and took the first set 25-22.
The second set did not have the same outcome for the Racers. The two teams traded points early and remained square at 9-9, but SIUE went on a 16-6 run to take set two 25-15, tying the match at one set a piece.
Back and forth action started the third set, but Murray State took advantage of Cougar errors and jumped out to a 17-12 lead in the third set.
The Cougars called timeout and responded by winning five of the next six points to bring the score to 18-17 in favor of Murray State. The Racers held the lead and came as close as two points from closing out the set.
While leading 23-21 in the set, the Cougars forced four Murray State errors to take the set 25-22, giving them a 2-1 advantage in the match.
SIUE jumped to an early 6-2 lead to start the fourth set, but the Racers were able to climb back and even it up at 7-7. After tying the score up, the Racers took the lead and didn’t look back, taking set four 25-21 and forcing the match to the fifth and final set.
The final set played like the second and third. The Racers jumped out early, but after an SIUE timeout, the Cougars climbed back to make the set close. Murray State kept the lead however, with a 13-12 score. Redshirt senior Kristen Besselsen came through with two kills to seal the match for the Racers, winning the set 15-12 and winning the match 3-2.
Three seniors led the way for the Racers. Outside hitter Scottie Ingram recorded a double-double with 16 kills and 16 digs, libero Ellie Lorenz had 34 digs for the game and setter Hannah Stultz led the team with 32 assists.
Murray State (9-8, 4-1 OVC) will be playing again at 1:30 p.m. Saturday in Charleston, Illinois, against the Panthers of Eastern Illinois.