Volleyball loses four-set match at UAB

Chelsea Ross posts double-double of 23 kills and 14 digs

October 16, 2012 · @MTAthletics

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - The Middle Tennessee volleyball team mustered only a .109 hitting percentage Tuesday night, losing 3-1 (14-25, 25-19, 16-25, 22-250 to UAB at Bartow Arena. Freshman outside hitter Chelsea Ross led all players in the match with 23 kills and added 14 digs for a double-double.

Tyler Richardson also had double-figure kills, putting down 10 with five blocks. Rachel Shaughnessy also was in on five blocks. Besides Ross, three other Blue Raiders had double-digit digs. Bri McCombs led the match with 24, Shelby Anderton had 11, and senior Halie Vannoy had 10.

UAB (13-11) took an early 4-1 lead to start the first set, getting kills from Kirsten Gallagher and Ally Slaughter. Middle Tennessee (7-18) got within two at 5-3 on kills by Katie Bange and Richardson, then got a pair of Ross kills to close the gap to one, 6-5. The Blazers won four of the next five points as a Gallagher kill made the score 10-6. After a Ross kill got the Blue Raiders within three, 10-7, UAB took nine of the next 11 points as two Slaughter kills put the Blazers up 19-9. MT won the next three points to get within seven at 19-12, but the Blazers' hot-hitting proved to be too much. UAB hit .500 in the opening set, winning it 25-14.

The Blue Raiders got off to a fast start in the second set. Led by three Ross kills, two Bange kills, and a block by Shelby Anderton and Rachel Shaughnessy, MT took a 9-4 lead. UAB got within four points on a Slaughter kill that made the score 10-6. A Ross kill then sparked a 7-1 Blue Raiders run, with Ross punctuating the run with a kill that made the score 17-7. The Blazers then went on a run of their own, winning seven of the next eight points to get back within four, 18-14. MT got the lead back up to six at 22-16 on a block by Richardson and Bange and a Halie Vannoy ace. The Blue Raiders took the second set 25-19 on Ross' eighth kill of the set, leveling the match at one set apiece.

The two sides traded points to open the third set, with MT emerging with a 4-3 lead. UAB then went on a six-point run highlighted by two blocks by Sam Serley to take a 9-4 lead.  The Blue Raiders closed the gap to three at 9-6 on a Bange kill. UAB then got back-to-back blocks to start a 4-1 run, taking a 13-7 lead on a Michelle Simmons kill. MT closed the gap to five at 14-9 on a Waller kill, but the Blazers extended the lead to seven, 18-11, on consecutive Slaughter kills. The Blue Raiders only got as close as five ponts for the rest of the set as UAB won 25-16 and took a 2-1 lead in the match.

Middle Tennessee trailed 5-2 early in the fourth set, but a Waller kill started a five-point run that put the Blue Raiders ahead 7-5. MT led 9-6 when a Serley kill sparked a 4-0 Blazers run that put UAB in front 10-9. The Blazers' lead grew to three at 13-10 on an ace by Rachel Fairbanks. The lead stayed at three up to 17-14. Ross put down a kill to get the Blue Raiders back within two, 17-15. MT then got blocks on consecutive points to tie the set 17-17. UAB took the lead, 18-17, on a Serley kill, and led 21-18 on a Slaughter ace. The Blue Raiders once again tied the set, as an Anderton ace made the score 21-21. Sam Skinner put down a kill to put UAB in front 22-21, and had two more kills in the next four points as the Blazers won the set 25-22 and the match 3-1.

UAB hit only .214 for the match as Middle Tennessee racked up 73 digs and 11 blocks. The Blazers had 14 blocks and 70 digs for the match. Slaughter led UAB with 13 kills as Skinner had 12 kills and 13 digs.

The Blue Raiders begin their final homestand this weekend, beginning with a match against UALR Friday night at 7 p.m.

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