Lions Swept by No. 15 Middle Tennessee State
LMU falls in its first match against a ranked opponent this season.
Sept. 6, 2008
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - LMU (3-2) was swept by tournament host and 15th-ranked Middle Tennessee State (6-0), 25-19, 25-22, 25-15, on Saturday in the first of two matches on the day for the Lions at the Blue Raider Bash.
Senior Emily Day, sophomore Becky Stehling and freshman Ariana Covington each recorded five or more kills and a service ace in the loss. Day finished with seven kills, while Stehling and Covington each contributed six. Sophomore Megan Nash continued to connect at a high percentage, leading the team with a .400 mark (four-for-10). The native of Manhattan Beach, Calif. is now hitting .411 (33-for-73) on the young season.
Sophomore Renee Horton and freshman Alesha Young tallied just 17 combined assists as LMU hit .044 (25-for-91) as a team in the match. Sophomore Whitney Leonard led the squad in digs over the three sets, collecting nine.
Izabela Kozon paced the No. 15 Blue Raider offense, posting 13 kills on 34 swings. Stacy Oladinni and Ashley Asberry also carried weight offensively, tallying nine and eight kills, respectively. The kill totals for Oladinni and Asberry don't necessarily tell the story, it is the efficiency in which they worked that was truly impressive. Oladinni collected her nine kills on just 11 attacks for an .818 percentage, while Asberry put up a .583 clip and her eight kills on just 12 attacks. Leslie Clark set the Middle Tennessee offense, totaling 32 assists, while Ashley Waugh led the team with 17 digs. The Blue Raiders were also very impressive at the defensive net, notching 8.5 total team blocks on 17 block assists.
Middle Tennessee State took an early 1-0 lead in the match score after earning a 25-19 victory in set one. Oladinni led the offense for the Blue Raiders, posting six kills and an assist. Day and Covington each posted three kills in the period as the set was fairly evenly matched throughout. The Lions and Blue Raiders played to a 13-12 score before Middle Tennessee took a 23-16 advantage on two kills from Oladinni. The Lions managed to fend off two set points after trailing 24-17, but were unable to fully overcome the gap, falling 25-19.
The Lions fell behind two sets to none after a 25-22 loss in the second set. Day collected three of her seven kills in the set, while Stehling connected for two kills on four attacks. The Blue Raiders, who hit .375 (13-for-24) over the course of the set, were led by Asberry, Oladinni and Ashley Mead with three kills apiece. The Blue Raiders came out swinging, opening-up a 6-1 lead to force an early LMU timeout. After the Lions battled back to 10-8 on a Stehling kill, the Blue Raiders regained momentum on a Brynne Henderson service ace to run the tally to 17-11. A Covington attack error pushed the lead to 20-15 before LMU once again scratched back to within two points at 22-20 on a Covington kill. Unfortunately for the Lions, the set ran to set point just a few moments later at 24-22, and Oladinni shut the door with a kill on the very next play.
Middle Tennessee State ran away with the match in set three, earning a 25-15 decision in the period. Kozon contributed seven kills in the set for the Blue Raiders, while LMU was held to a negative hitting percentage at -.065. For the second consecutive set, the Blue Raiders quickly took a 6-1 lead to force a Lion timeout. The pace did not slow out of the break as LMU saw the gap widen to 12-1, once again forcing a timeout. The Lions did manage to break the string of 11 unanswered points at 13-1, but only managed to cut the deficit to nine points at 15-6 on a Nash kill. After that kill, the Blue Raiders led by at least 10 points the rest of the way en route to the victory on a Day service error.
The Lions will look to bounce-back after the loss, returning to action tonight at 5:30 p.m. against Appalachian State in its final match of the Blue Raider Bash.