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MT falls in five sets at Marshall

Raiders close out regular season at Tulane on Sunday

November 15, 2013 · @MTAthletics

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - The Middle Tennessee women's volleyball team fell in five sets at Conference USA foe Marshall on Friday night at the Cam Henderson Center. In the defeat, the Blue Raiders fall to 17-11 and 8-5 in C-USA play, while the Thundering Herd improves to 15-15 and 8-6 in C-USA.

Sophomore Chelsea Ross led the Blue Raiders with 25 kills while recording a .365 (25-6-52) hitting percentage. Freshman Jale Hervey added 16. Redshirt-junior Kendall Howard had a match-high 22 digs, while sophomore Rachel Shaughnessy had seven blocks.

The first set was a marathon, with neither team leading by more than two in a set that Marshall took, 30-28. The Blue Raiders came up with five blocks in the frame, and were led by three kills each from Hervey and redshirt-junior Monet Marshall. The score was tied 21 times in the first set.

Much like the opening stanza, the second set went beyond the distance with little separation between Middle Tennessee and Marshall. The Blue Raiders were able to take the set with a great set from Ross, who tallied nine kills on a .444 (9-1-18) hitting percentage. Howard had eight digs in the frame.

Middle Tennessee was forced to play catch-up throughout most of the third set, and eventually knotted the frame at 20-20. Marshall was able to then take control, scoring five of the set's final seven points en route to a 25-22 victory. MT outhit Marshall, .333-.179, in the third set, and received another solid frame from Ross. The Murfreesboro native had six kills on a .444 (6-2-9) hitting percentage.

The Blue Raiders forced a fifth set with 15 digs in the fourth, while capitalizing on five Marshall service errors in a 25-21 decision. Hervey had six kills, while Ross added four. Junior Ailime de Freitas had 10 of her 30 assists in the fourth. The Blue Raiders never trailed in the frame, and led by as many as five points on four occasions.

The two teams traded shots in the fifth set before the Thundering Herd pulled away for a 15-10 victory to take the match. Ross and Hervey combined for seven kills in the set, but it was not enough to come away with the win.

The Blue Raiders close out the regular season Sunday at 1 p.m. at Tulane. A Middle Tennessee win coupled with a North Texas loss at FIU would give the Blue Raiders the No. 4 seed and a first-round bye in the Conference USA Volleyball Championship at Alumni Memorial Gym Nov. 21-24.

Seeding scenarios for the Blue Raiders:

No. 4 seed:
Win at Tulane AND North Texas loss at FIU (9-5 C-USA record for MT, 8-6 for North Texas and Marshall)

No. 5 seed:
Win at Tulane AND North Texas win at FIU (North Texas holds tiebreaker; MT's 9-5 record puts them ahead of 8-6 Marshall)

No. 6 seed:
Loss at Tulane AND North Texas loss at FIU (Marshall takes No. 4 seed by virtue of 2-0 record vs. MT and North Texas; North Texas claims No. 5 seed with 1-1 record; MT finishes with No. 6 seed with 0-2 record)

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