Dealing with multiple injury issues, a limited Middle Tennessee volleyball team still kept the winning tradition going by notching three wins to just one loss on Saturday en route to winning the Middle Tennessee Spring Tournament at Alumni Memorial Gym.
The Blue Raiders posted victories over Memphis, Georgia Tech and Tennessee State, but fell to 2010 NCAA Tournament participant Auburn in a close back-and-forth affair.
"Overall, my staff and I were very pleased with our performance on Saturday," head coach Matt Peck said. "When you're playing without three middles in two-time All-American Stacy Oladinni, 2010 starter Lindsay Cheatham and 2009 starter Alyssa Wistrick, you have to be pleased to still be successful."
Oladinni, Cheatham and Wistrick are all recovering from surgery and are expected to be back to full health by the time the fall season begins in August.
In the day's first match, Middle Tennessee knocked off Memphis in 2-0 (25-18, 25-16) fashion. After posting a wire-to-wire first set win, the second frame was a different story. Memphis held onto a slim lead for much of the early goings, but the Blue Raiders mounted an impressive 11-point run to grab a 24-15 lead. A Morgan Peterson kill sealed the deal to hand MT their first victory of the day.
Auburn provided the tightest match of the event in a three-set battle, and the Blue Raiders ultimately fell in a 2-1 decision (29-27, 24-26, 13-15).Ashley Adams helped MT grab the first set, picking up seven kills, but Auburn put together a strong comeback effort in set two, taking just their second lead late to win 26-24. The Tigers outlasted the Blue Raiders to take home the third set.
Led by 10 kills from Adams, Middle Tennessee won 2-1 (25-21, 17-25, 15-13) over Georgia Tech. In the first set, the Yellow Jackets took an early 6-8 lead, but the Blue Raiders ran off six consecutive points and wouldn't look back. After dropping the second frame, both Adams and Maria Szivos added four kills apiece to win 15-13 in the decisive third set.
Adams posted another nine kills and Szivos chipped in six to lead Middle Tennessee to a 2-0 (25-22, 25-12) win over Tennessee State.
Overall, Middle Tennessee tied Georgia Tech with a 3-1 mark. Both Auburn and Tennessee State ended 2-2, and Memphis finished 0-4.
SPRING COMING TO AN END
With the Spring Tournament wrapped up, the Middle Tennessee spring season is coming to an end.
"We spent a lot of time in the gym this spring," Peck said. "We just had the one competition date, but I feel like we made some major strides in helping get the athletes ready for a very challenging fall season. The girls will continue to prepare on their own over the summer, and I think this could be one of our strongest teams to date."
Middle Tennessee, defending Sun Belt champions, will now begin to look towards the fall. The season is slated to begin in late August, but details on the schedule are still being finalized.