Volleyball extends winning streak with a sweep of Marquette

Henderson joins 1,000 Dig Club

October 11, 2011 · Athletic Communications
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - After falling to Marquette earlier this season, the Middle Tennessee volleyball team was able to exact revenge on Tuesday night with a 3-0 (25-22, 25-19, 26-24) sweep of the Golden Eagles at Alumni Memorial Gym, extending the Blue Raider winning streak to seven matches.

"We felt like we could have won the match when we played up there, and I think our team was on a mission tonight," head coach Matt Peck said. "This is really going to help us for the end of the season, and we just played a great match. We had a nice and balanced effort all around."

Efficiency was key for Middle Tennessee (9-9) on the night as the team out-hit the visitors .369 to .237 and tallying 54 kills to Marquette's 35.

The duo of Ashley Adams and Alyssa Wistrick, who combined for 28 kills in last month's meeting in Milwaukee, were excellent once again for the Blue Raiders. Adams, the reigning Sun Belt Player of the Week, posted a match-high 16 kills at a .321 rate, and Wistrick was second on the team, hitting .393 with 13 kills.

"We were getting Ashley the ball that she needed tonight, and she was just hitting it over the block," Peck said. "Alyssa was huge for us tonight as well. She was jumping out of the gym and being aggressive. When both of our outsides are hitting like that, we're a hard team to beat."

Oyinlola Oladinni provided both offense and defense from the middle, hitting at a .462 clip with nine kills and four block assists.

Morgan Peterson was responsible for directing the attack, posting a career-high 45 assists over the three frames.

Kendall Howard and Maria Szivos led the team in digs with nine and eight, respectively, and Brynne Henderson's five pushed her past the 1,000 dig mark for her career. Henderson now ranks ninth in school history with 1,001.

"After being a defensive specialist for her first two seasons, Brynne getting to a 1,000 digs is awesome," head coach Matt Peck said. "She finished off the match for us with her serving and she also had some key passes and digs to go along with that. I'm very pleased with her effort tonight."

Led by five kills from Wistrick, Middle Tennessee never trailed in the opening frame and out-hit the Golden Eagles .448 to .206, but it was still a tight one as the Blue Raiders ultimately held on to win 25-22.

The set featured six ties, including at 21-21, but a pair of kills from Wistrick and Szivos handed Middle Tennessee the slim 23-21 edge. Oladinni and Szivos followed up a Marquette kill with a block and an MU attack error gave the Blue and White the 1-0 match lead.

Szivos ended the match with six kills and three blocks.

It was more efficient offense in the second set as Middle Tennessee was the recipient of four kills apiece from Oladinni and Adams en route to hitting at .382 rate and winning 25-19.

Marquette grabbed their first lead of the match at 7-6, but Peterson, Adams and Lindsay Cheatham responded with three consecutive kills and Middle Tennessee would not trail again.

After running out to a seemingly safe 19-14 lead in the frame, Marquette charged back with four straight points to cut the deficit to one, but once again Adams and Peterson were able to answer with five combined kills down the stretch. A Peterson service ace ended the frame to send MT into the break with a 2-0 lead for the third consecutive match.

Adams and Wistrick posted 15 of the team's 21 kills in the third and final set as Middle Tennessee was able to weather a Golden Eagle set point to win 26-24.

Marquette led for much of the early goings, but a trio of kills from Szivos, Wistrick and Oladinni handed MT its first lead of the frame at 17-16. A Golden Eagle block evened it back up, but Adams followed up a Wistrick kill with three consecutive kills to put the Blue and White ahead 21-17.

Marquette wasn't finished though as it stormed back to re-take the lead at 22-21. The two sides would swap points down the stretch with MU getting an opportunity for set point at 24-23. However, Adams responded with a kill, and Szivos followed up with two more, securing Middle Tennessee's sixth sweep in the past seven matches.

The Blue Raiders will return to Sun Belt action this weekend as they close out their current five-match homestand with divisional match-ups against Florida Atlantic and FIU. Friday's match against the Owls of FAU is set to begin at 7 p.m.

Follow the Blue Raiders on Twitter @MTAthletics for continued updates.