Racer volleyball splits weekend

Story by Keenan Hall, Staff writer

Game One

Murray State volleyball lost in four sets as Jacksonville State remained unbeaten at home this season, winning 25-18, 21-25, 25-15 and 25-20.

The Racers came out slow in the first set, opening with a 5-1 deficit. The Gamecocks stormed out to an early lead posting 14 kills on 29 attempts.

The Gamecocks stormed out to an early lead posting 14 kills on 29 attempts, while the Racers only scored 11 kills in the first set off of 31 attempts. Jacksonville State out-hit Murray State, and despite a late run by the Racers, the Gamecocks took the set 25-18.

In the second set, the Racers tried to regroup but couldn’t prevent themselves from going into the half down two sets. The second set saw back-and-forth action with 12 ties and six lead changes.

Murray State freshman setter Ashley McBee notched 14 of her 40 assists in the second set. She also led all players in assists for the match. Sophomore outside hitter Rachel Giustino scored seven of her 13 kills in the second. The Racers out-hit Jacksonville State with a .286 hitting percentage and 15 kills.

Murray State broke the Gamecocks’ momentum from the first set, holding them to a .212 hitting percentage. The Racers had the lead at 16-14 before a late charge by the Gamecocks to regain the lead 18-17. Murray State would close the set on an 8-3 scoring run to win 25-21.

Murray State opened the third set with a 6-5 lead before Jacksonville State pushed out to an eight-point lead. The Gamecocks held the Racers to a .044 hitting percentage while only hitting .182. Murray State couldn’t string together stops against Jacksonville State in the third set as they lost 25-15.

The fourth set was similar to the third, as the Racers couldn’t regain the same energy they possessed in the second match. Murray State scored 10 kills, but recording 14 errors and a -.085 hitting percentage didn’t help its cause. The Gamecocks finished the match consistently with 10 kills on three errors while hitting at a .219 hitting percentage. The Racers dropped the fourth set 25-20.

The Gamecocks out-blocked the Racers in the match 16 to 4 and finished with 44 kills on .244 hitting percentage for the game. Murray State posted its lowest attacking percentage this season with .075. Giustino led the Racers in kills with 13 and senior outside hitter Olivia Chatman followed with 12.

With the loss, Murray State moved to 12-7 on the season and 4-3 in conference play as they lost their second road conference bout. The Racers have a chance to rebound in their second road game in two nights. Murray State will face Tennessee Tech at 4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 14 in Cookeville, Tennessee.


Game Two

Murray State volleyball responded to its third conference loss with a 25-12, 28-26 and 25-14 sweep against Tennessee Tech on Saturday, Oct. 14.

The Racers took control of the match early, storming out to an 8-2 lead. Tennessee Tech continued to play error-prone throughout the first set. The Golden Eagles posted only seven kills to go along with eight errors. Murray State breezed to an opening set win 25-12.

Tennessee Tech put up their best set of the match in the second set. Tennessee Tech scored 18 kills on a .220 attacking percentage as they fought to tie the match before halftime. The Golden Eagles held a 14-9 lead midway through the set.

The Racers finished the set with 15 kills on 57 attempts. Murray State stayed in striking distance, committing only three errors and hitting at a .211 attack percentage. The Racers closed the gap and took the lead at 20-19 after an 11-5 scoring run. Giustino and Murray State junior outside hitter Dacia Brown had back-to-back kills that gave the Racers the advantage, leading to Murray State winning the second set 28-26.

In the third set, the Racers scored 17 kills with only three errors. Tennessee Tech managed to score nine kills, while committing six errors. Frustrations began to boil over in the third and one of the Golden Eagles’ assistant coaches received a yellow card from the officials.

McBee served 12 assists in the set while Murray State’s outside hitters scored their highest kill-count of the match. Tennessee Tech failed to equal Murray State’s production in the match, and they lost the third set 25-14

McBee had back-to-back double-doubles this weekend with 40 assists against the Gamecocks and 34 assists against Tennessee Tech. Racers’ sophomore setter Alex Kaufmann led Murray State in digs with 18 in the match.

The Racers found a way to regroup against Tennessee Tech after Thursday’s loss and moved to 13-7 (5-3).  Murray State returns to Racer Arena for their next two OVC matchups. The Racers will play Belmont, tied for second in the conference, at 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 20 in Racer Arena.