Volleyball Wraps-up Regular Season on the RoadNovember 11, 2004 · MT Media Relations
In a wild and crazy final week of Sun Belt Conference matches, the Blue Raiders can finish as high as second overall in the conference or drop as low as fifth. In the East, Middle Tennessee is currently third, with an 8-4 record. Arkansas State leads the East with a 10-3 record and Western Kentucky is currently second at 9-3. The Sun Belt Conference only takes eight of the 11 Sun Belt teams to the tournament, and though Middle Tennessee assured a place in the tournament two weeks ago, the seeding is still in doubt.
"The interesting thing is that all the teams, with the exception of New Mexico State, are basically equal going into the tournament," said head Coach Matt Peck. "'There is a lot of balance between the teams."
Currently, the Blue Raiders are concerned with playing at Western Kentucky on Friday. Western Kentucky won the earlier contest on September 24 3-0 in Alumni Memorial Gym. Middle Tennessee was shorthanded in the match, playing without Sun Belt kills leader KeKe Deckard, who was nursing an injury. The Lady Toppers have won the last seven meetings, with the last Middle Tennessee victory occurring in 2000 when the Blue Raiders won 3-1.
"The match with Western Kentucky will be interesting, because we have KeKe back and Western's setter isn't at full strength," Peck said. "Of course, Western Kentucky has tradition on their side and we are playing at their place, so it will be a good tough match for both teams."
Middle Tennessee will complete its Sun Belt Conference regular season at Louisiana-Lafayette. The Ragin' Cajuns are currently 7-21 overall and 3-10 in the conference and mathematically out of the tournament race.
"Louisiana-Lafayette will be a tough match for us because they have noting to lose," Peck said. "It will be a test for us to go down there and stay focused and hopefully get a win."
The Blue Raiders eight wins in the Sun Belt is the most by a Middle Tennessee squad since joining the Sun Belt. Should the Blue Raiders, who are currently 16-12, split this weekend, the team would improve to 17 wins, which would be the most since 2002. If the Blue Raiders can collect a sweep and improve to 18 wins, it would be the most since 1995 when Middle Tennessee had 32 wins and won the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament.
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