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The Murray State News

The Murray State News

The Murray State News

Volleyball drops two games in Billiken Invitational Tourney

Senior Outside hitter Emily Matson seven kills and a block in the Racers win over Arkansas Pine Bluff. Photo courtesy of Racer Athletics.

Rachel Essner
Staff Writer
[email protected]


The Murray State volleyball team travelled to Saint Louis, Missouri on Sept. 3-4, to compete in the Billiken Invitational at Saint Louis University. The Racers ended the Invitational 1-2, bringing their overall record to 3-3. 

Game One

The Racers swept the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff in their first game of the Invitational on Friday, Sept. 3. 

Murray State took a quick lead at 14-6 against the Golden Lions with kills from freshman outside hitter Brooke Lynn Watts, redshirt senior middle blocker Kolby McClelland, freshman setter Bailey DeMier, sophomore middle blocker Darci Metzger and senior outside hitter Emily Matson. The Racers were able to increase their lead to a 10 point deficit at 21-11, eventually taking the set 25-11. 

The Racers and Golden Lions were trading points at the beginning of the second set. However, with a 6-1 run, Murray State took the lead at 17-13. The Golden Lions were able to get within two points of the Racers at 20-18, but with a 5-1 run, the Racers won the set 25-19. 

Murray State’s first five points scored in the third set were all kills from Watts with three of the next four points coming from Metzger’s kills to help the Racers gain a 10-7 lead. The Racers rattled off four straight points with two kills from Watts and one kill from Matson, increasing their lead to 14-10. After trading points with the Golden Lions, a kill from Watts sealed the set 25-22 for Murray State to take the game 3-0. 

Watts led the Racer offense with 21 kills, her fourth straight game with more than 20 kills. McClelland and Metzger followed, totaling 10 kills each with Metzger earning a .600 hitting percentage. Matson added seven kills for the Racers. 

Sophomore defensive specialist Dahlia Miller led the defense with 17 digs while senior libero Becca Fernandez followed with 15 and Matson contributed 11. DeMier tallied 43 assists and seven digs.  

Game Two

Murray State competed against Arkansas State University on Saturday, Sept. 4, where the Racers suffered their second loss of the season. 

The teams traded points in the first set, tying the score at 9, but with a 5-0 run, the Racers took the lead at 14-9 with one kill from both Watts and junior outside hitter Alysha Smith and a block from Smith and McClelland. After going back-and-forth, three straight errors from the Red Wolves sealed the set for Murray State at 25-18.

With the score tied at 10, Murray State pulled ahead in the second set, using a 7-2 run to make the score 17-12. However, the Red Wolves fought back, scoring the last four points of the set, winning 25-23. 

Arkansas State carried their momentum into the third set. With the teams tied at 12, the Red Wolves used a 6-0 run to take the lead at 18-12. Murray State responded with a 5-0 run, making the score only a one point deficit at 20-19 with kills from Metzger and freshman outside hitter Alexa Harris. However, the Racers were not able to regain the lead as the Red Wolves closed out the set 25-22. 

The Racers took the lead in the beginning of the fourth set at 8-6, but with a 5-0 run, the Red Wolves took control of the game at 11-8. The Racers were never able to recover, only coming within two points at 14-12. Arkansas State rattled off eight straight points to win the set 25-15 and take the game 3-1. 

For the fifth game in a row, Watts led the offense with 20 kills followed by Metzger with eight and McClelland with six. Fernandez led the defense with an impressive 33 digs while Miller collected 16. DeMier totaled 42 assists and 13 digs. 

Game Three

Murray State suffered another loss as they competed against Saint Louis University for the final game of the Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 4.

The Billikens took the early lead at 16-11, but with a 5-0 run, the Racers tied the score at 16. From there the teams battled for every point, with the Racers reaching set point a total of four times. With Murray State up 29-28, the Billikens scored three straight points to end the marathon set 31-29. 

Saint Louis carried their momentum over to the second set, using a 7-0 run to take a 14-5 lead over the Racers. The Billikens followed with a 6-1 run for set point at 24-12. In an attempt to fight back, Murray State scored five straight points to make the score 24-17, but a kill for the Billikens sealed the set at 25-17. 

The Racers turned the tables in the third set, using a 9-1 run to lead 14-6, with kills from Smith, McClelland and Watts. The Billikens fought back with a 8-2 run, but still trailed 19-17. With kills from Watts, Harris, McClelland and sophomore middle blocker Taylor Beasley, the Racers closed out the set 25-21.

The Billikens took control in the fourth set, never letting the Racers take the lead. Murray State was able to cut the deficit to two points at 17-15, with kills from McClelland, Watts, Harris and Smith. However, Saint Louis closed out the set 25-20 to win the game 3-1. 

Watts recorded a career-high 29 kills for her sixth straight game of 20+ kills and finished the Invitational with 70 total. McClelland followed with nine kills while Smith and Harris each counted four. 

Fernandez led the defense with 23 digs, securing her spot on the All-Tournament team. Miller contributed 17 digs while DeMier added 10 and tallied 43 assists. 

The Racers will continue on the road as they travel to Statesboro, Georgia, to compete in the Eagle Invitational against Florida International University and Georgia Southern University on  Sept. 10-11, at 9 a.m.

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