• September 15, 2019

Volleyball opens conference play with a win - The Trail Blazer: News

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Volleyball opens conference play with a win

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Posted: Friday, September 21, 2018 9:33 pm

After falling behind two sets to one heading into the fourth set, Morehead State Volleyball scratched and clawed its way to a five-set victory over Jacksonville State. The Eagles (10-4, 1-0 OVC) hit .372 across the game's final two sets to down the Gamecocks (7-7, 0-1).

VOL MSU vs Jacksonville State
Morehead State's Jordan Jones celebrates scoring a point against Jacksonville State Saturday, Sept. 21, 2018 at Morehead State University in Morehead, Ky. Photo by Sophie Quesenberry. Sophie Queseberry

"I really thought the composure that we showed in the fourth and the fifth set was really something for us to build on," said head coach Jaime Gordon. "It was disappointing how we closed out the first set, I thought we had a good opportunity to try and get an early win, but credit to Jacksonville State they played very low error volleyball."

Jacksonville State took the opening set 23-25 before Morehead State battled back to take the second set 25-19. The Eagles recorded five of their nine total blocks in the set to even the match at a set apiece heading into the locker room. Senior middle blocker Maddie Fella picked up three of her four blocks in the second set while sophomore Lauren Rokey and redshirt sophomore Chandler Clark combined for two blocks apiece as well.

VOL MSU vs Jacksonville State
Morehead State's Olivia Lohmeier sends the ball over the net against Jacksonville State Saturday, Sept. 21, 2018 at Morehead State University in Morehead, Ky. Photo by Sophie Quesenberry. Sophie Queseberry

The Gamecocks took set three to jump out to a two set to one lead, hitting .500 in the set, knocking down 13 kills on 26 attempts. Jacksonville State played errorless volleyball in the set while also siding out the Eagles 71 percent of their serves.

"I think the way the team decided to come together and embrace the struggle as a team and make sure we rely on things that work well for us," added Gordon. "I think what started to happen was we got players like Lauren Rokey and Olivia Lohmeier back into play and Jordan Jones and Jessie Wachtman were playing well and Chandler [Clark] had a great opportunity to make good decisions."

The Eagles rallied in the game's final two sets, hitting a combined .372 across the sets. The team recorded 29 or its 68 kills in the two frames while recording 12 kills on 15 points in the final frame to put the Gamecocks away.

VOL MSU vs Jacksonville State
Morehead State's Lauren Rokey battles at the net against Jacksonville State Saturday, Sept. 21, 2018 at Morehead State University in Morehead, Ky. Photo by Sophie Quesenberry. Sophie Queseberry

While the Eagles clicked offensively in the fourth and fifth sets, the defense deserves a ton of credit, especially the back row. Morehead State's back row came up with 27 digs in the final two sets led by Clark's seven while redshirt freshman Taylor Hodges added five of her own. In total, the Eagles racked up 63 total digs paced by a team-high 13 from Clark. Freshman libero Allison Whitten added 10 digs to give the Eagles a pair of back row players in double-digits.

In addition to her 13 digs, Clark recorded her sixth double-double of the year, dishing out a career-high 60 assists, besting her previous career-mark of 56 set earlier this season versus Bradley. The 60 assists marked the most by an Eagles since 2016 when Bailey Nichol served up 60 helpers at Eastern Illinois.

Clark's career-day wasn't the only milestone performance for Morehead State as redshirt senior middle blocker Jessie Wachtman knocked down a career-high 18 kills. The new mark breaks her previous high of 16 set last November against who else, but Jacksonville State. She headlined a quartet of Eagles in double-digits as Lohmeier (15), Jones (15), and Rokey (13) each logged 10 or more terminations.

VOL MSU vs Jacksonville State
Morehead State's Jessie Wachtman fights at the net against Jacksonville State Saturday, Sept. 21, 2018 at Morehead State University in Morehead, Ky. Photo by Sophie Quesenberry. Sophie Queseberry

Morehead State continues Ohio Valley Conference play tomorrow afternoon, returning to Wetherby Gym to host Tennessee Tech at 2 p.m. ET. The Golden Eagles (6-9, 0-1) enter the match having dropped a five-set affair with Eastern Kentucky on Friday night.