Story by Bryan Edwards, contributing writer
The Murray State women’s volleyball team traveled to Cape Girardeau, Missouri on Friday to match up against the Southeast Missouri State Redhawks and then Martin, Tennessee on Saturday to square up with the Skyhawks of the University of Tennessee at Martin.
The Belmont Bruins were able to end the Racers’ streak of 13 consecutive sets won in their last match, but Murray State was able to start another streak, defeating the Redhawks in straight sets 3-0 (25-22, 25-21, 25-23).
Murray State opened the match with three straight points and jumped to 16-11. After the Redhawks rallied to get the score to 22-21, the Racers ended the match on a 3-1 run, ending the match 25-22.
The second set had back-and-forth action throughout, but the Racers squeezed through to get a 20-14 lead. The Redhawks rallied five straight points, and after a Murray State timeout, the Racers took the set 25-21.
The first part of the third set was closely led by the Redhawks, who managed to squeak out a three-point lead at 19-16. Murray State sparked a 9-4 run, capturing the set 25-23 and the match in a straight sweep.
Murray State was led by Kristen Besselsen, senior and commander of the right side. Besselsen recorded a double-double with a team high of 16 kills and also recorded 11 digs in the contest. Senior outside hitter Scottie Ingram would also post a double-double with 11 kills and 11 digs.
Senior libero Ellie Lorenz led the way with 19 digs and senior setter Hannah Stultz would record a team high of 40 assists.
After winning in straight sets Friday, the Racers were able to win their second straight match in straight sets with another 3-0 victory (25-20, 25-19, 25-15).
Murray State and UT Martin would play point for point during the first half of the match, but with the score at 13-11 in favor of the Skyhawks, the Racers would spark an 8-1 and take the lead at 19-14. Murray State would keep the lead and take set one 25-20.
UT Martin started the second set with a 13-11 lead, but the Racers would hold the Skyhawks to only eight points for the rest of the set, taking set two 25-19.
Murray State opened the third set with a 13-1 run, scoring the first nine points of the set. Murray State held the lead and won the third set 25-15 to take the match in straight sets.
Seniors Scottie Ingram and Kristen Besselsen led the team with 26 of the team’s 48 kills, while senior libero Ellie Lorenz would rack up 22 digs and senior setter Hannah Stultz served up 32 assists in the winning effort.
Murray State (16-8, 11-1 OVC) will be renewing its Battle of the Border rivalry with the Governors of Austin Peay at 6 p.m. Wednesday in Clarksville, Tennessee, closing out a five-game road trip. The Racers defeated the Governors in straight sets in their last meeting Sept. 27.