The Parthenon

Marshall volleyball defeats Middle Tennessee, 3-1

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Marshall University’s volleyball team defeated Middle Tennessee State University 3-1 Wednesday at the Cam Henderson Center.

The Herd improves to 15-8 (6-4 C-USA) on the season, while the Blue Raiders falls to 5-18 (3-6 C-USA)

Junior Cassie Weaver led the way, tying a match-high with 22 kills and recording 19 digs, while junior Ally Kiekover added 18 kills of her own.

Sophomore setter Kayla Simmons finished with 42 assists and 14 digs and Libero Allie Kellerman recorded 17 digs one game after recording her 1,000th career dig.

“It was a great effort shown by the team,” sophomore Taylor Pelton said. “We had a huge win this past weekend. And we really wanted to stay focused this week and show that those (previous games) weren’t flukes and that we’re the real deal.”

“It was a gutsy performance,” head coach Mitch Jacobs said. “They really got the mentality that we’re never going to be outworked here at home. It’s not like (Middle Tennessee State) let up, we just started making more plays. We started making more defensive efforts and that carried on through set four.”

The win marks the third straight conference victory for the Herd, which is coming off consecutive wins against the University of Texas-El Paso and the University of Texas at San Antonio.

In the first set, the Herd came out firing on all cylinders and were in control early, getting out to a 12-4 lead. The Herd did not let up throughout the duration of the set and secured a 25-20 win.

Set two started out as and remained a back-and-forth affair, with Marshall making some mistakes on defense and giving points to MTSU. Marshall never managed to build more than a two-point lead in the set before Middle Tennessee State took its first lead in the match at 19-18.   The Blue Raiders did not look back and won the set 25-21 going into the intermission.

Jacobs said the third set showcased what the Herd is capable of when it faces adversity in a tight match.

“In set three, we just talked about the next play,“ Jacobs said. “Play like it’s 30-30 and that every point matters more than anything else. You’ve just got to play it every point at a time.”

The Herd found itself trailing 17-12 midway through the third set before it began to chip away at the deficit. The Herd fought back to cut the Blue Raider lead to one point at 23-22. A Cassie Weaver kill tied the set and sparked the Herd to a 25-23 win.

The fourth set remained close until the middle of the set, when Marshall managed to gain some separation from Middle Tennessee State at the 19-16. The Herd closed out the set, notching a 25-22 victory to finish off the match.

“We’re starting to come together as a team right now, “ Jacobs said. “We really need to keep making this push.”

The Herd will seek its fourth straight victory Friday when it goes on the road to take on the University of North Carolina at Charlotte 49ers.

John Fauss can be contacted at [email protected] 

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