Blue Raiders fall in five-set heartbreaker to Arkansas State
Middle Tennessee will play UALR on SundaySeptember 23, 2011 · Athletic Communications
Both Maria Szivos and Lindsay Cheatham also reached double digits in kills with 13 and 11, respectively, and as a team the Blue Raiders had 65 to ASU's 61. However, Arkansas State committed 10 less errors and held the advantage in attack percentage .220 to .171.
After taking over the setting role in the third set, Morgan Peterson tallied a season high with 30 assists and six kills. The sophomore also added seven digs and a pair of blocks on defense.
As a team Middle Tennessee (2-9, 0-1 SBC) posted a season-high 14.5 blocks. Cheatham tallied six block assists and Oyinlola Oladinni added four. In her first extended playing time, freshman Monét Marshall chipped in three.
The Blue Raiders picked up a combined nine kills from Cheatham and Alyssa Wistrick en route to a 25-23 opening set victory. Middle Tennessee would never trail in the frame, but the Red Wolves gave the Blue Raiders a run for their money throughout the set.
After grabbing a 16-12 advantage, ASU battled back to tie it at 19, but a pair of Wistrick kills bookended a four-point run to put the set away for good, handing MT the 1-0 lead.
Arkansas State (10-5, 1-0 SBC) responded forcefully, taking home the second frame 25-14 to send the match into the break all even at 1-1.
After it looked like the Red Wolves were going to walk away with the third set, the Blue Raiders put together a thrilling comeback effort, ultimately coming up short, 30-28.
ASU was in control for much of the frame, holding a consistent five point lead late, including at 24-19. Middle Tennessee would not be deterred though, fighting off five consecutive set points to even it up at 24-24. Szivos tallied a kill and a service ace during the run, and Adams combined with Cheatham to punctuate the rally with a pair of blocks.
The Blue Raiders fought off another set point before getting a chance of their own at 27-26, but a service error ended the threat. The Red Wolves would respond just a few moments later to grab a 2-1 lead.
Middle Tennessee out-hit Arkansas State .219 to .000 in the fourth frame, evening the match back up at 2-2. After some back-and-forth play early, Szivos keyed a four-point run to grab an early 8-5 lead, and the Blue Raiders would never trail again. The Hungarian led all attackers in the frame with four kills, and Marshall added two as well to go along with a pair of blocks.
The fifth and final set moved at a frenetic pace as the Blue Raiders and Red Wolves would exchange leads eight times and tie on 14 occasions.
Neither side could create much breathing room on the scoreboard, but a pair of Adams kills kick-started a three-point run to give the Blue and White the late 13-11 edge. After setting up match point at 14-12, ASU responded with three straight points to grab a 15-14 lead.
An Arkansas State service error evened it back up at 15. Despite getting kills from Szivos and Peterson down the stretch, Middle Tennessee was unable to capitalize on a pair of match point opportunities, and Arkansas State went on to secure the 20-18 victory.
Middle Tennessee will now prepare to close out the weekend on Saturday against UALR. First serve at Alumni Memorial Gym is set for 1 p.m.
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