Story by Maggiann Ackerman
Murray State volleyball swept the UT Martin 3-0 in its first match of the OVC tournament 25-20, 25-21 and 25-19.
To start the first set, the Racers held an early 12-5 lead over the Skyhawks after a kill by Murray State sophomore middle blocker Katriah Johnson was assisted by sophomore setter Ashley McBee.
The Racers then extended the lead to 20-12 when Murray State junior outside hitter Rachel Giustino and freshman middle blocker Kolby McClelland united forces to put down a block.
Murray State senior middle blocker Dacia Brown’s kill towards the end of the set, along with errors made by UTM, contributed to the 25-20 win in the first set.
UTM took hold of the lead for the majority of the second set, with junior outside hitter Hannah Phillips providing several kills for the Skyhawks and a service ace to make the score 13-5.
The Racers then went on a 13-1 run to take the lead 22-20. Kills from Murray State junior hitter Megan Lindsay Brown and Giustino were a significant factor in the successful comeback attempt.
A pair of kills by Giustino claimed the set in Murray State’s favor 25-21 and left UTM down 2-0 concluding the second set.
The Racers started the third set strong by taking a 6-2 lead thanks to kills by Murray State junior right side hitter Rachel Holthus and Giustino.
UTM was not ready to give up yet, and kept trying the Murray State defense to close the lead to 15-14 after a kill by Skyhawk junior middle blocker Gintare Mackeviciute.
The Racers finished the sweep following kills by Brown and Giustino to end the final set 25-19.
Murray State volleyball will continue its journey through the OVC tournament against Morehead State at 2:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 16, in Clarksville, Tennessee.