The Eastern Kentucky University volleyball team played sound defense in its three-set loss to Murray State Saturday evening at McBrayer Arena. Chloe Rojas led all players with 25 digs while Clairissa Hankinson and Kaylin Johnson led all players with three blocks apiece.
The Colonels fell by scores of 25-22, 27-25 and 25-22.
EKU came into a marathon of a second set, that featured eight tie scores and four lead changes, down 1-0, but a pair of Celina Sanks kills from Cassie Knutson put Eastern Kentucky up early, 6-2. Murray’s Dacia Brown came up with a kill at the 11-10 mark to spark a 7-1 Racer run, 17-12. A few points later EKU responded with four unanswered points to knot the match at 19 all. Murray State took the next two points with another Brown kill and a block, 21-19, but the Colonels found an answer in a Cassie Knutson putaway, 21-20. The Racers pushed the lead back to two, 22-20, but Knutson notched another kill followed by a solo block from Johnson and it was back to a tied set, 22-22. The teams went point-for-point for the remainder of the set, but an EKU service error and Megan Lindsay kill tilted the set in favor of Murray State, 27-25.
Sanks led all players with 16 kills while Knutson chipped in 11 combined with 17 assists for a double-double. Maria Ferragonio also contributed a double-double with 16 assists and 11 digs.
The Colonels out-blocked Murray State 6-to-2. The squads both finished with 61 digs, but the Racers took the edge in assists 45-to-38.
Callie Anderton led the Racers and tallied a match-best 39 assists while Rachel Giustino led Murray State with 12 kills.
The Racers led for the entirety of the first set, but EKU was able to tie the score four times. At the 15-15 mark Murray State utilized four unanswered points, coming off of a Dacia Brown kill to pull ahead, 19-15. The Colonels fought back after an attack error and Lauren Kolenik, Hankinson block, 19-17, but were unable to come any closer. Giustino found a putaway to close the set, 25-22.
Freshman Kolenik drew first blood of the final frame, but the Racers answered with six unanswered points to put EKU in an early 6-1 hole. Murray State held its lead down the stretch, but an attack error helped Eastern create a 7-0 run to pull ahead 17-15. Five Racer points in a row tilted the set in favor of the squad, 24-21. Sanks found a kill, but a putaway from Courtney Radle decided the set and match 25-22.
Murray State improves to 20-8, 12-4 (Ohio Valley Conference) while the Colonels fall to 12-18 (10-6 OVC).
The match makes EKU a four-seed in the OVC Tournament next week. Game times and official dates will be announced this week.
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Assistant Director, EKUSports Communications