Volleyball goes winless at Samford Invite


Junior middle blocker Darci Metzger (#13) recorded 16 kills across the invite. Photo courtesy of Racer Athletics.

Ronan Summers, Contributing Writer

The Murray State volleyball team lost two games after facing off against the Clemson University Tigers on Saturday, Sept. 17 and the Samford University Bulldogs on Sunday, Sept. 18 at the Samford Invite.

Despite the losses, freshman outside hitter Federica Nuccio was awarded the MVC Freshman of the Week award for her contributions in the invite. Nuccio finished with 32 kills, 23 digs and six aces over the weekend.

This is the first award a Murray State volleyball player has received since the conference switch. 


Game One

The Racers got out to an early 2-1 lead in the first set, but Clemson rallied to put themselves up 6-2. The Racers trailed throughout the rest of the first set and eventually lost 25-17.

Murray State led 17-15 in the second set and looked to tie the match up at one set apiece. A rally started by a kill from Nuccio helped the Racers extend the lead. Senior outside hitter Alysha Smith followed with a kill to continue the rally.

Nuccio then earned a service ace, and junior outside hitter Jayla Holcombe finished the rally with a kill. This rally put the Racers up 21-15 and led them to win the second set  25-18. 

Clemson took a demanding 10-3 lead in the third set and did not let off the gas. Clemson won the set 25-13.

The Racers were down 22-19 in the fourth set and were nearing defeat, however, a rally initiated by Nuccio helped the team climb back. A kill by Smith, a service ace from Nuccio and a kill by graduate middle blocker Elisa Dozio put the Racers back on top 23-22.

Clemson tied things up 23 apiece, but Holcombe earned another kill and junior middle blocker Darci Metzger ended the set with a kill as well, giving the Racers a 25-23 win.

The Tigers started the fifth set on fire up 5-1, but the Racers rallied. Holcombe earned back-to-back kills, and the Tigers committed three attack errors, putting the Racers up 6-5.

Clemson got another lead and were up 13-9 later in the set. A rally started by a service error led to Holcombe killing the ball three times in a row, tying things up at 13 apiece. The Tigers responded by earning two kills, giving them the win in the fifth and final set 15-13.

Holcombe finished the match with 16 kills and two blocks. Nuccio totaled 16 kills, three aces, three blocks and 12 digs. Metzger ended up with 12 kills and three blocks. Sophomore setter Bailey DeMier had 50 assists. 


Game Two

Murray State jumped in front of Samford early in the first set, as they were up 5-1. Samford was eventually able to even the score at 13 apiece. The Racers fought to keep the lead, but a flurry of points came right when Samford needed them. 

The Racers were up 18-16 before Samford executed an eight-point rally, putting them ahead 24-18. Samford took the first set 25-19.

The Racers and Bulldogs were tied up at four points apiece before Murray State went on a five-point run in the second set. The Bulldogs committed two attack errors, and Dozio earned herself a kill. After Dozio’s kill, two more errors followed to cap off the five-point run.

Murray State fought off a four-point Samford run late in the set, winning  the second set 25-23.

The Racers were down 24-20 in the third set before Nuccio earned a kill that led to an attack error and another kill by Nuccio. Despite the late push, the Racers dropped the third set of the match, losing 25-23. 

The fourth set went back and forth, as there were six lead changes. Although Murray State was ahead for the majority of the match, a late Samford push led to a win in the fourth and final set of the match 25-22. 

Nuccio finished the match with 16 kills, three aces and 11 digs. Holcombe totaled 17 kills and three blocks. DeMier ended up with 39 assists, three blocks, nine digs and an ace. 

Holcombe finished the weekend with 33 assists and five blocks. DeMier finished with 89 assists and two aces.

The pair of losses put Murray State at 4-6 on the season. 

The Racers start MVC play by hosting five games in a row. The first game of the home stretch is against Southern Illinois University at 6 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 23 in Racer Arena.


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