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MOREHEAD, Ky. – The Morehead State volleyball team overcame a slow start and defeated Tennessee Tech in four sets at Wetherby Gym on Saturday afternoon. The win marks their third straight and moves them to 6-4 in conference play. Following a win over Jacksonville State last night, it also marks their first weekend sweep of the season.
They downed the Golden Eagles, 17-25, 25-19, 25-23, 25-16.
“Against two really good teams to get a home sweep is great, it’s what we were hoping for and we worked really hard this week in practice to shore up some things and make some adjustments,” said head coach Jaime Gordon. “I’m proud of the way that the team got out there and executed. We had different people step up at different times.”
Morehead State fell behind early after Tennessee Tech closed out the first set on a 14-6 run. The Golden Eagles hit .423 in the first.
Following the first set setback, MSU would quickly regain control of the match. The latest they trailed in the final three sets was at 14-13 in the third, but they then went on an 8-2 run to open things up. Then after trailing 9-7 in the fourth, they closed it on an 18-7 run.
For the second straight match, the Eagles employed a balanced offensive attack as four players finished with 10-plus kills. Senior Hannah Sigala led the way with 14 kills on just 26 attempts, and finished with a .538 hitting efficiency. Freshman Merideth Jewell and junior Sydney Schuler recorded 11 kills and junior Courtney Smith added 10. Smith led with 14 digs, while Jewell added 11 and freshman Alyssa Cecil had 10.
Freshman Jordan Jones and junior Bailey Nichol once again ran the offense for MSU. Nichol led the way with 26 assists and Jones had 18 assists, while adding five kills and hit .364.
Ten off Schuler’s 11 kills came after the first set and she hit .280 for the match.
“Sydney (Schuler) did a fantastic job tonight,” said Gordon. “She really struggled early, but she did a really nice job of picking us up and giving us some key kills, which really brought her stats up. The way that she finished the match really set the tone for us and gave us some momemtum.”
The Eagles hit at least .200 in all four sets and finished at .279 for the match. They had 55 kills to Tech’s 46.
But, once again the story was their balanced attack.
“It (balanced attack) makes it very difficult for defenses to key in on any one person,” said Gordon. “Hannah (Sigala) had another outstanding match. We had great support play from Merideth (Jewell) and Courtney (Smith). Bailey (Nichol) came up and gave us some great swings. The other thing is we’re starting to see a little bit more balance in our defense, as well. Courtney had 14 digs and we got a lot from Jewell and Alyssa (Cecil). That piece has got to continue to build for us, and it’s getting there.”
Winners of three straight and now two games over .500 in conference play for the first time this season, the Eagles seem to be clicking at the right time.
“We talk about a concept called the October hump, it’s that middle late part of October and that’s where you start seeing teams separate in one direction or the other,” said Gordon. “I think you’re starting to see this team gel after really fighting through some tough times. The goal is to peak in November.”
Morehead State looks to build on their three-match winning streak next weekend as they travel to Belmont on Friday and to Tennessee State on Saturday.