Blue Raiders open Alabama swing at South Alabama Friday

Volleyball looks to improve conference standing with three matches remaining

November 2, 2012 · @MTAthletics

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - After winning both of its matches last weekend in Florida, the Middle Tennessee volleyball team looks to improve its Sun Belt Conference standing this weekend with matches at South Alabama Friday night and Troy Saturday night. First serve for both matches is 7 p.m.

With three regular-season matches remaining, the Blue Raiders are tied with Louisiana for seventh-place in the Sun Belt with 6-6 records. Middle Tennessee currently holds the number seven seed because of its 3-1 win at Louisiana on Sept. 29. The Blue Raiders are a half-match behind North Texas, Arkansas State, and South Alabama which all have 6-5 records.

Middle Tennessee improved its conference record to 6-6 last weekend with wins at Florida Atlantic and FIU. The Blue Raiders defeated Florida Atlantic 3-1 (25-22, 17-25, 25-22, 25-18) last Friday night behind an 18 kill, 11 dig performance from Chelsea Ross. Senior Brandi Waller added 13 kills in the win over the Owls. Two days later, the Blue Raiders held FIU to a .009 hitting percentage in a 3-0 (25-21, 25-20, 25-22) sweep of the Panthers. That is the lowest hitting percentage allowed by Middle Tennessee since holding UALR to a -.022 mark on Sept. 25, 2011. Ross and Tyler Richardson each had a team-high eight kills with Richardson hitting .500 for the match with four blocks. Monet Marshall added six kills, five blocks, and four aces.

The Blue Raiders will look to level their season series with both South Alabama and Troy. The Jaguars and Trojans both defeated Middle Tennessee at Alumni Memorial Gym to open Sun Belt play. South Alabama is 13-13 on the season and 6-5 in the conference after a 3-1 loss to Troy last Saturday. Melissa Waelter leads the Jaguars with 3.12 kills per set. Troy's win over South Alabama gave the Trojans the season sweep of their in-state rival. The Trojans are 18-9 and 8-3 in the Sun Belt, having won six of their last seven matches. Sophomore Alicia Dukes was named Sun Belt Offensive Player of the Week on Monday after posting double-doubles in Troy's two wins last week. She hit .263 and averaged 4.00 kills per set in wins over Florida A&M and South Alabama.

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