Volleyball splits first two matches in Blue Raider Bash

Blue Raiders bounce back from sweep by Furman to sweep UAB

August 24, 2012 · @MTAthletics

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - The Middle Tennessee volleyball team split its first two matches of the season Friday, beating UAB 3-0 after being swept by Furman 3-0 in the Blue Raider Bash at Alumni Memorial Gym. Freshman Chelsea Ross led MT with 12 kills against UAB with Ashley Adams adding 10.

"I got the impression at the beginning of the Furman match that our kids were kind of nervous, and we were never really able to settle them down," said head coach Matt Peck. "The UAB match was different. I think the girls were able to settle down after getting the first match under their belt. I just noticed they were more relaxed. This is going to be what it's like for us early in the season. We're a very capable team, a lot of young players and sometimes they're going to play like that. Hopefully we're going in the right direction for tomorrow."

Middle Tennessee (1-1) opened the tournament Friday against the Furman Paladins. Furman used a 10-5 run in the first set to pull away from the Blue Raiders and took it 25-20. In the second set, the Paladins hit .259 to win 25-14. The Blue Raiders hung with Furman in the third set, which featured 14 ties and six lead changes. With the score tied at 23-23, Furman got kills from Christina Dorismond and Chandler Ambrester to win the set 25-23 and the match 3-0. Ambrester led all players with 15 kills as Adams had 10 to pace Middle Tennessee. Freshman Bri McCombs led the Blue Raiders with 11 digs.

The Blue Raiders got off to a better start against UAB (0-2) in the nightcap. With the score tied at 8-8 in the first set, a Katie Bange kill sparked a 6-0 Middle Tennessee run to put it ahead 14-8. The Blazers got within two points at 19-17 on a Sam Serley solo block, but that was as close as UAB would get. The Blue Raiders won six of the next seven points as an Adams kill gave Middle Tennessee the first set 25-18.

After trading points early in the second set, Middle Tennessee took a 13-8 lead on a block by Ross and Monet Marshall as well as an Alyssa Ivey service ace. The Blue Raiders led by as much as six points in the set before a Kate Morell kill started a four-point UAB run to get the Blazers within two, 17-15. Middle Tennessee grew the lead back to four, 21-17, on a Ross kill and a block by Katie Bange and Tyler Richardson. The Blue Raiders took the second set the same way it won the first, with an Adams kill giving them the 25-21 win.

Middle Tennessee jumped out to a five-point lead early in the third set as a McCombs ace made the score 10-5. UAB would only get as close as three points the rest of the way. The Blue Raiders took a six-point lead at 20-14 on an Adams kill, then a seven-point lead at 24-17 on a block by Richardson and Miri Shade. Ross put the match away with a kill, her 12th of the match, to give Middle Tennessee the third set 25-18 and the match 3-0.

"I think the girls were not panicking and settled down," Peck said about the Blue Raiders following the UAB match. "That's how we looked in training camp. I told them still that we really haven't shown yet what we can do offensively, but we're getting there. I feel great about being 1-1 right now. We can still win a couple matches tomorrow and get off to real good start."

The Blue Raiders held UAB to a .091 hitting percentage, recording 51 digs and 11 blocks in the match. McCombs led Middle Tennessee with 16 digs in the nightcap as Shade and Shaughnessy were each in on five blocks. Freshman setter Shelby Anderton had 14 assists as Alyssa Ivey added 13.

Middle Tennessee is back in action in the Blue Raider Bash on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. against UTSA and 5:30 p.m. against UC Davis.

Friend of the Blue Raiders? Like us on Facebook and become part of the True Blue army today.