Story by Logan Boger
Murray State volleyball ended the Hampton Inn Invitational this weekend with three losses against Valparaiso University, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and the University of South Dakota.
The Racers had their first game of the invitational Friday against Valparaiso. During the game Murray State had some very impressive plays with 24 kills and 18 digs from senior outside hitter Rachel Giustino and 35 assists from junior setter/outside hitter Ashely McBee.
The Racers started the set off with a strong 5-1 lead over Valparaiso, but was quickly tied up with Valparaiso at 11. Following the tie, the Crusaders took the first set 25-20.
The second set of the game started out strong for the Racers with Giustino and sophomore middle blocker Kolby McClelland putting them at a 4-0 lead. Murray State kept this momentum going and extended their lead to 17-8. This gave Head Coach David Schwepker and company the room they needed and they ended the set 25-20.
The third set was evenly matched between the two before Valpo went on a 6-0 run, taking a 14-10 lead. The Racers were able to close the gap with a kill from senior right-side hitter Rachel Holthaus, but the Crusaders retaliated with a 5-0 run to take the set 25-18.
In the fourth set Valparaiso was able to hold onto their 17-13 lead, eventually claiming the match 3-1 with a 25-20 win in the final set.
The Racers second match of the invitational was a hard-fought match against IUPUI. The first set was a back-and-forth affair until a 4-0 run was made by IUPUI, giving them a 24-21 lead. The Racers fired back with 2 kills of their own but IUPUI closed the set with a kill.
The second set saw Murray State fire off and leading the set before a 4-0 run by IUPUI. The Racers were close to closing the set but was unable to keep their lead, allowing the Jaguars to claim the set 27-29.
The third set was close between the Racers and IUPUI. With two kills from Giustino and blocks from McBee and senior outside hitter Megan Lindsay. These efforts were enough for the Racers to take the set, 25-19
The Racers kept this momentum going into the fourth set, gaining a 5-1 lead early on. They kept this going and the set was won by the Racers after a kill and a service ace by Giustino.
The fifth set was tight for both teams until IUPUI had a 5-0 run to take the lead, with the Jaguars eventually winning the set 15-9.
The final game in the invitational was against South Dakota and they were able to keep the lead and pressure on the racers for 3 sets before taking the game.