Photo by Ambre Rogue / Staff Photographer
Story by Cody Strickler / Contributing Writer
The Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders (5-21,2-9 C-USA) hoped to get a key win at home against the University of Texas at El-Paso Miners (5-19, 3-8 C-USA). The Blue Raiders held their own, but fell in straight sets 3-0.
Setter Jacqueline Lux recorded 27 assists, putting her over the 1,000-assist mark for her career as a Blue Raider.
“Q is an amazing kid,” Huebner said of his setter. “She cares more about MTSU volleyball than probably anyone who has ever come through here.”
Set one began Sunday afternoon with UTEP grabbing a 5-1 lead. The Raiders fought back to get within two points on the strength of three kills from Makila York. UTEP regained control of the set from there, claiming their biggest lead at 24-14. The Miners would ultimately take the set 25-15.
While the teams were tied at 12 kills apiece, MTSU made 10 total errors compared to UTEP’s one. The Miners also maintained a .367 hit percentage while the Raiders had a .049 percent mark.
Set two saw a big leap in energy from the Blue Raiders as both teams fought back and forth. Neither team was able to gain a substantial lead as MT held a three-point advantage at 19-16. The Raiders would get within a point of taking the set, but failed to do so with UTEP coming back to win 27-25.
Even though MTSU played well in set two, the team felt they could’ve done a better job keeping their emotions in check.
“We could work on not getting so emotional during the games,” outside hitter Aubrie Huddleston said of the team’s effort. “That really hurts us.”
Interim Head Coach Jeff Huebner also believed the team needed to keep their emotions stable moving forward.
“I think we need to develop some game-time maturity,” Huebner said after the game. “[We need to] take ownership of what we’re doing and understand that collegiate athletics is an opportunity that not everyone has.”
UTEP had all the momentum at the start of set three, opening with a 4-0 lead. The Raiders had some key plays with kills by Huddleston, York and Dora Peonia. Ultimately, UTEP kept up their hot play and won the set by a score of 25-17, taking the match 3-0.
Peonia led the Blue Raiders with ten kills. York and Huddleston finished close behind with eight kills each. Freshman Meg Irvin led both teams with 15 digs.
The team will travel to Bowling Green, Ky., to take on rival Western Kentucky next Friday at 2:30 p.m.
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