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The Murray State News

The Murray State News

The Murray State News

Racers sweep final two-game homestand

Senior outside hitter Megan Lindsey blocks Austin Peay’s kill attempt. (Photo by Brock Kirk/TheNews)

Jon Dunning

Staff Writer

[email protected]

The Murray State volleyball team won their last two home games of the season, beating both Austin Peay and Morehead State University.

Murray State vs. Austin Peay

The Murray State volleyball team triumphed 3-2 at home in their second Battle for the Border match-up this season against Austin Peay on Wednesday, Nov. 13.

Senior outside hitter Rachel Giustino led the Racers in kills with 33, while junior setter and outside hitter Ashley McBee led the team in assists with 33. Junior libero Becca Fernandez led the team in digs with 24.

Austin Peay opened the first set strong, scoring seven points before Murray State could find an answer to make the score 7-1. Giustino scored three kills to help the Racers close the gap to 8-5. Then, kills by senior right-side hitter Rachel Holthaus, sophomore outside hitter Emily Matson and Giustino allowed Murray State to erase the early game deficit completely, tying the set 13-13. Two kills by Giustino put the Racers in front 18-16, but the game became tied again at 20-20. Holthaus and Matson both scored kills in the final moments of the set to give Murray State its first win of the night 25-23.

Murray State scored the first point of the second set with a kill by senior outside hitter Megan Lindsay, but Austin Peay gained a 4-1 lead. Two kills by Giustino and a kill by sophomore middle blocker Kolby McClelland allowed the Racers to tie the game 4-4. The Governors re-established their lead, jumping to 11-5. Holthaus scored three kills and McBee scored a kill to make the score 14-10. Giustino and Holthaus both scored two kills and McClelland scored a kill to close the gap to 19-18. Kills by Giustino and Matson tied the game 22-22, but Austin Peay pulled ahead to win the set 25-22.

The Racers started the third set with a 3-1 lead due to kills by Giustino and Lindsay. Austin Peay fought to tie the game 7-7 and eventually claimed the lead 9-8. Two kills by Holthaus allowed the Racers to trail 12-10 and kills by Matson and Giustino shortened Austin Peay’s lead to 13-12. The Governors regained momentum, expanding their lead 18-14. A kill by Matson put Murray State behind 21-19, but Austin Peay claimed its second set 25-19.

The Governors scored first in the fourth set but kills by Holthaus and Giustino put Murray State ahead 2-1. Three more kills by Holthaus and a kill by Lindsay put the Racers up 6-4. Austin Peay fought back to tie the game 6-6, but Giustino made three kills to stay ahead 10-8. The Racers extended their lead 16-11 with two kills by Giustino, a kill by Holthaus and a kill by Lindsay. Austin Peay closed the gap to 19-16, but three kills by Giustino and two kills by Holthaus allowed the Racers to take the set 25-19.

Murray State started the fifth set 3-1 with kills by Holthaus and Giustino. Austin Peay tied the game 4-4, but two kills by Giustino kept the Racers in the lead 6-5. Additional kills by Giustino, McBee, Matson and Holthaus pushed the score to 10-7. Holthaus, Matson and Giustino each scored kills to give Murray State the set 15-10, allowing the Racers to win 3-2.

Murray State Head Coach David Schwepker was proud of his team’s victory.

“It always feels great to walk away with a win,” Schwepker said. “We had to fight every step of the way.”

Fernandez also discussed how it felt to win against Austin Peay.

“We really, I think, were flustered in the first couple sets, but then we got ourselves together,” Fernandez said. “We talked about how this is our floor and we have to protect it, then we went out there and we just dominated.”

Murray State vs. Morehead State

The Murray State volleyball team won their last home game of the season with a 3-0 sweep against Morehead State on Saturday, Nov. 16.

Giustino led the team in kills with 15, while McBee led in assists with 42. Senior defensive specialist Alex Kaufmann led in digs with 10.

Murray State opened the first set with a 2-1 lead, but Morehead State jumped ahead 4-2. The Eagles increased their lead to 10-5. Kills by senior right-side hitter Courtney Radle and Lindsay helped Murray State narrow the deficit to 12-9. However, Morehead State regained momentum to extend its lead to 16-10. A kill by Lindsay and two kills by Giustino put Murray State behind 16-14, then two kills by Radle and a kill by Holthaus tied the game 18-18. Holthaus and Lindsay both scored kills to help Murray State win the set 26-24.

The Racers began the second set 3-1, but the Eagles tied the game 4-4. Kills by Radle, Holthaus and Matson increased Murray State’s lead to 8-5. Giustino scored two kills, giving Murray State 13-8 lead. The Racers continued to play strong, jumping to 18-12 with kills by Giustino, McBee and Radle. Giustino scored three kills in a row at the end of the set to allow Murray State to take it 25-17.

Morehead State jumped to a 3-1 lead at the beginning of the third set, but Murray State tied the game 3-3. The Eagles reclaimed the lead, extending it to 7-5. However, two kills by Holthaus and a kill by Matson put the Racers ahead 9-8. Additional kills by Giustino and Lindsay extended Murray State’s lead to 13-10. Late in the set, Morehead State tied the game 19-19, but two kills by Giustino and a kill by Holthaus pushed Murray State to 24-21. Giustino scored the final kill, giving the Racers the set 25-21 and 3-0 sweep.

Schwepker spoke about the performance of the team’s seniors on senior night.

“We had five seniors that they knew this is the last time they are playing on Murray State’s floor,” Schwepker said. “All five of them started, all five of them finished and they played outstanding.”

Kaufman discussed how the atmosphere of senior night influenced the team.

“I think the connection that us seniors have and the fact that we got to be on the court together with such a good bond, such a good chemistry…so we were able to just play our hearts out and have no fear,” Kaufmann said. “Senior night definitely had an impact on that energy that was out there tonight for sure.”

Murray State will face UT Martin in the first round of the 2019 OVC Volleyball Tournament in Jacksonville, Alabama, on Thursday, Nov. 21 at 10 a.m.

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