MOREHEAD, Ky. – Morehead State volleyball utilized stellar defense at the net and a balanced offensive attack to down Murray State in straight sets (25-20, 25-22, 25-20) at Wetherby Gym on Saturday night.
With the win, the Eagles move to 6-11 on the year and 2-2 in conference play. The Racers (8-8, 3-1) entered the match undefeated in league play at 3-0 and yet to lose a set in the OVC.
“Overall, it was a strong performance in all areas tonight,” said head coach Jaime Gordon. “The defense was anchored by what we were doing blocking. It was a fun match with two great teams that just battled. It was nice to have them at home and our crowd definitely was the difference maker.”
With the Eagles leading 24-17 late in the first set, Murray State reeled off three straight points to trim the lead to 24-20 and Morehead State called timeout. Coming out of the timeout, senior Sydney Schuler recorded her fourth kill to claim the set.
The Eagles then found ways to close out the Racers late in the second and third sets.
“Finding ways to close out sets is key and we’ve talked about that, ‘who’s going to be that winner and give us that point when we need it’,” said Gordon. “Today, not just in that first set, but all three sets were really tight, and whether it was a scramble play by Danielle or a big block from Jessie or a key kill from Sydney, everyone was stepping up in big ways to give us scoring opportunities.”
Defensively, the Eagles finished with 13 blocks compared to Murray State’s two. Freshman Karlee Reynolds led the way with eight block assists while six different players recorded at least two block assists. Sophomore Jessie Wachtman finished with five, while senior Bailey Nichol and sophomore Merideth Jewell each had four.
On the offensive end, Morehead State hit .226 for the match and finished with 34 kills. Jewell and Schuler led the way with nine kills each, while Wachtman had seven and Nichol added five. Nichol also finished with a team-high 27 assists.
“I thought Bailey did a nice job of getting the middles involved. She was also very active, which is something we’ve been trying to do with our setters, making sure that they are an offensive option,” said Gordon. “When we do that, it allows everything to open up on the defensive side, too.”
Murray State managed 41 kills, but had 30 more attacks than the Eagles and hit just .096.
Freshman Danielle McCarson led the Eagles with 16 digs, while Jewell added ten.
Now the Eagles must look to build off of a quality win over the reigning OVC regular season champions.
“We cannot get caught up in the result. We have to embrace tonight’s performance and think about what it was that put us in those winning situations,” said Gordon. “I don’t think there’s anyone on the team that hasn’t felt all season long that we have it in us, it’s just a matter of performing. This win was an example of what we can do when we are clicking like we need to.”
Morehead State returns home next weekend to host Belmont on Friday night and Tennessee State on Saturday afternoon.