he Murray State volleyball team opened its 2017 campaign by splitting a pair of matches at the Courtyard by Marriott Samford Invitational Friday in Birmingham, Ala. The Racers lost their opener in three sets to Ohio, 25-19, 25-19 and 25-21, before closing the day with a sweep of their own, 25-13, 25-17 and 25-21 over Southeastern Louisiana.

Rachel Holthaus was a force for MSU (1-1) in the win over the Lions, leading the way with a match-high 13 kills on just 17 swings. Rachel Giustino added 12 kills in the sweep and had her first double-double of the year with 10 digs. Dacia Brown and Megan Lindsay chipped in with seven and six kills, respectively.

Courtney Radle had a solid match at setter in the win, tallying 38 assists, seven digs and three kills while Becca Fernandez and Alex Kaufmann each had 10 digs apiece to lead the way in the back row defensively.

As a team, the Racers out-hit Southeastern .287 to .052 while also recording two more service aces (5-3). Lindsay led MSU with a pair of aces in the win.

The Racers struggled in their season opener against the Bobcats, hitting just .081 in the loss while Ohio hit .315 as a team. The Bobcats also out-blocked MSU 7-1 in the match.

Giustino led MSU with 12 kills in the match and was the only Racer in double digits. Brown chipped in with five kills while Holthaus had four. Fernandez had 17 digs to lead the way in the day’s first match while Ashley McBee tallied 17 assists.

The Racers return to action Saturday as they face host-Samford in a 3:30 p.m., match to close the invite.

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