Story by Elijah Campbell / Sports Reporter
Photo by Austin Lewis / Sidelines Archives
The Middle Tennessee Blue Raider volleyball team (0-7) fell short of their first win of the season Saturday against the Belmont Bruins in four sets.
The Blue Raiders remain winless on the season and the loss marks their seventh straight to begin the 2017 campaign.
Regan Coughlin led the way for MT with nine kills, with Taylor Hammill pitching in 24 assists in her sixth straight game with at least 20 assists. Hamill also recorded nine digs.
Another notable performance was the all-around play of sophomore libero Brienna Tankesley, who recorded nine digs and was awarded a spot on the Bruiser Showcase All-Tournament team.
The Bruins greatly benefited from a stellar performance by senior outside hitter Arianna Person. Person’s dominant showing included game-highs with 12 kills and 15 digs.
The Blue Raider loss came with a silver lining and reason for optimism. After losing the first 18 sets of the season, six of which were decided by five points or less, Middle Tennessee came out strong and won the first set of the match Saturday by a score of 25-22.
Hammill saw the first set victory of the season as a positive step in the right direction and as a sign of the team playing more effectively as a unit.
“It’s the first step, we had the first step of finally being ahead in a game…it was more of a team aspect,” Hammill said. “I felt like we were very collaborative in working together.”
As well as the Blue Raiders started, they seemingly could not keep up with the Bruins and lost the next three sets by a combined 30 points. Middle Tennessee also made too many mistakes, committing nearly as many errors in sets two and three (16) than Belmont had for the whole game (19).
Hammill knows that for the team to be successful, they have to come out with a more aggressive approach after they take a lead.
“I feel like we need to not be content” Hammill added, “Yes, we won that first set, but the other team is going to want to come right back at us…we just need to keep pushing and keep our foot on the gas pedal.”
The Blue Raider volleyball team continues their 2017 season on Tuesday, as they host the Mocs of Tennessee-Chattanooga in a 6 p.m. showdown at the Alumni Memorial Gym for the first home game of the season. The Mocs are 4-3 on the season and are fresh off of a four-set defeat at the hands of Murray State.
Follow MTSU Sports Reporter Elijah Campbell on Twitter at @E_Campbell3
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