Photo by Andrew Brown / MTSU Sidelines
Story by Jason Crownover / Contributing Writer
The Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders (7-22, 2-11) hosted the Florida International University Panthers (6-15, 4-9) on Thursday for Senior Night. In what was a truly emotional night, the Blue Raiders couldn’t snap their latest losing streak and fell to the Panthers in straight sets.
The matchup was especially significant for senior Sloan Sullivan, as she was recognized as the only senior for the Middle Tennessee.
The Blue Raiders were looking to rebound after a straight-set loss against the C-USA conference champions, Western Kentucky University. FIU also came in on a down note as losers of their previous game against UTSA by a final score of 3-2.
The Panthers started strong, as they jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the first set and maintained control. When all was said and done, FIU took the first set by a score of 25-18.
The second set was evenly matched, but FIU pulled away late and won the second set by a score of 25-19.
The third set began with the Blue Raiders desperately needing to win the remaining sets to prevent getting swept. Although Middle Tennessee fought hard to close the gap, they were unable to make the comeback and were beaten in the third set.
The loss extended the Blue Raider losing streak to four straight games.
MTSU Sophomore standout Dora Peonia played well in the matchup and finished with a team-high 15 kills and seven digs on the night. The Castel Bolognese, Italy native has been consistent all season long and is currently third on the team in hitting percentage and total blocks.
Blue Raiders junior Bailey Mason also had a strong showing, as she tallied nine kills, three aces and eight digs.
The Blue Raider players and coaches declined to comment after the game.
Below are photos from the game.
With only one game remaining on their schedule, the Raiders will now look ahead to their season finale at North Texas on Saturday 11 a.m.