Photo by Craig Bisacre/UT Athletics
Middle Tennessee volleyball welcomed Illinois State, Seton Hall and Tennessee Tech to Murfreesboro for the Blue Raider Bash. MTSU fell short of victory twice in their three game round-robin tournament weekend but showed determination, coming back to win their final matchup in the five sets.
Illinois State (4-5) – 3
Middle Tennessee (1-6) – 0
The Blue Raiders struggled to get out of the gates early, committed too many errors and fell behind quickly. The Illinois State Redbirds jumped out to a sizable lead in the first set. Sabrie Sirmones and Regan Coughlin were able to find success for the Blue Raiders, however, a four-kill run by Illinois State sealed the first set. MTSU showed signs of life in the second set, but a 14-3 run by the Redbirds allowed them to get ahead. The Redbirds went on another 11-3 run in the third set to complete the sweep.
Seton Hall (5-4) – 3
Middle Tennessee (1-7) – 0
The Seton Hall Pirates gathered momentum quickly at the beginning, but the Blue Raiders went on two runs to bring themselves within two points. However, a final kill by Dominique Mason for the Pirates led to victory in the first set. Middle Tennessee came back strong to hold a substantial lead in the second set. The Pirates would answer, as they slowly mounted a comeback and ended the second set with a five-kill run and a victorious 25-22 score. In the final set, the Blue Raiders were deflated. They were within reach of the Pirates by five points. Nevertheless, a 9-3 run by the Pirates put an end to the Blue Raider’s hopes, as they would hand the team their second sweep of the weekend.
Middle Tennessee (2-7) – 3
Tennessee Tech (4-6) – 2
After two straight losses inside Alumni Memorial Gymnasium, the Blue Raiders were determined to find a way to win. Looking to turn the tide in their final match, the Blue Raiders failed to get off to a great start. The Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles squeaked out a victory in the first set and seemed to halt any Blue Raiders comeback attempt. Middle Tennessee would finally control the match and seized victory in the next two sets. An impressive 7-1 run by the Blue Raiders put the second set to rest at 25-23. Momentum carried over into the third set, but the Golden Eagles reignited their offensive firepower. Finding themselves in grudge match, the Blue Raiders closed out the third set as the Golden Eagles took the fourth. Tennessee Tech dominated and only allowed seven points defensively. Despite an overwhelming 25-7 victory in the fourth, Middle Tennessee claimed their first victory of the weekend in the final set. The Blue Raiders finished with a 7-2 run which featured the three final kills from Dora Peonia, Aubrie Huddleston and Delaney Gallagher. The Blue Raiders would end on good note, winning the fifth set 15-7 while earning their second win of the season.
The Blue Raiders will have a single-game matchup at Wake Forest on Wednesday before heading to Richmond, Virginia, to compete in the VCU Invitational.