(PHOTO: BEN ROBSON/NinerTimes)
The Blue Raiders’ hopes for a spot in the C-USA Tournament took a major hit Thursday night, after Middle Tennessee suffered a 3-1 setback against the Charlotte 49ers.
With the loss, Charlotte (16-16, 5-10 C-USA) leaped over the Blue Raiders for the eighth and final spot in the C-USA standings, with both teams having one game left in the regular season.
The Blue Raiders (9-20, 5-10 C-USA) require help to sneak into that final spot, needing a win against rival Western Kentucky and a loss by Charlotte against Southern Miss in their Nov. 16 matchup.
Junior Chelsea Ross led the team with 13 kills and 12 digs, good for her 14th double-double of the year.
Senior Monet Marshall provided solid offensive reinforcement with 12 kills and a team high .455 hitting percentage.
Freshman Ladaisha Gillard had a well-rounded performance with eight kills and a team-high six blocks.
Freshman Haley Morton and senior Ailime de Freitas facilitated the offense, combining for 39 of the team’s 43 assists. Morton led the team with 24 assists. To her credit, de Freitas added 10 digs defensively.
Giving the team a much needed spark on defense was Jacqueline Lux and Morgan St. Germain. Lux led the team with 21 digs, and St. Germain added 12 of her own.
The Blue Raiders can attribute this loss to inconsistency on offense.
Middle Tennessee was in-sync offensively in the first and third sets, combining for a .204 hitting percentage in those sets.
However, in the second and fourth sets, MTSU posted a .140 and a mediocre .091 hitting percentage, respectively.
Charlotte had a more consistent attack all night. In four sets, the 49ers had a line of .237/.151/.152/.132, compared to the Blue Raiders’ mark of .212/.140/.196/.091.
Also, as much as the hitting percentages proved to be a factor, the assist numbers showed a large discrepancy.
Charlotte proved more apt to move the ball and set each other up, finishing the match with 61 assists compared to Middle Tennessee’s 43 assists.
The Blue Raiders finish their regular season Saturday night in Bowling Green, taking on C-USA rival Western Kentucky at 7 p.m. CT.
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