MT Drops Heartbreaker in Nonconference Finale

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In the final non-conference match of the year, Middle Tennessee provided a strong effort Wednesday night, but ultimately dropped a heartbreaker against Austin Peay 3-2.

Regan Coughlin led the Raiders with a match-high 16 kills to accompany 16 digs for her seventh double-double of the season.

Makila York finished the night with a season-high 13 kills and tallied a pair of blocks. Vonnie Covington continued her impressive play with another stellar performance. The redshirt sophomore tallied 11 kills and ended the night with a .611 hitting clip.

Jacqueline Lux turned in 47 assists along with 11 digs for her sixth double-double on the year. The junior setters is now just four digs away from a career-1,000.

The Blue Raiders used its best offensive performances of the season and jumped on the board in the first two sets.

Middle Tennessee and Austin Peay traded the first handful of points in the opening frame before the Raiders used a block by Delaney Gallagher and York followed by a kill from York to take an early lead. The Governors answered offensively to force another tie. Split at 17-17, the Blue Raiders took advantage of a pair of Governor errors along with kills from Bailey Mason and Gallagher to earn its biggest lead of the set at 21-17. The Govs offered a late rally, but another Governor error and a kill from Coughlin gave Middle Tennessee the 25-22 win.

The Blue Raiders used the opening-set win to jump out to a 10-3 lead in the second behind kills from York and Covington along strong defensive play by Gallagher. Like the first, Austin Peay rallied with a pair of kills to trim the deficit. Holding on to a 14-12 lead, Covington took over with a pair of timely kills, and kills by Gallagher and Coughlin extended the Blue Raider advantage to 20-16. Points from Covington and York gave MT set point at 24-18 before Austin Peay offered another rally. The Governors used an error killed four of the next five points to cut the lead to 24-23, but York’s timely attack put the set away and gave MT a 25-23 win.

The Blue Raiders hit a combined .313 in the first two sets and tallied 19 kills to just nine errors.

Austin Peay responded after the intermission with a 7-0 run to open the third set that grew to 16-7. The Blue Raiders offered a comeback with consecutive kills from Gallagher and Coughlin, but the initial deficit proved too much as Austin Peay claimed the third set 25-16.

The Governors used the previous set win to jump ahead 6-0 in the fourth set and extended the lead to 10-2. MT responded by taking eight of the next 12 points, and cut the lead to 17-14 with back-to-back kills by York. The Raiders couldn’t break the three-point cushion until consecutive kills from Covington and York put the Raiders within two points at 22-20. The Governors used a late offensive surge, however, and claimed a 25-22 set win to even the match score.

Much like the third and fourth sets, the Governors struck first in the final frame for a 2-0 lead. A Governor attack error and a kill from York evened the match at 2-2, but Blue Raider attack errors on three of the next four of the next six points led Austin Peay to a 7-3 lead. The Blue Raiders offered one final rally with a kill from Covington and forced a pair of errors to close the gap to 8-6. Austin Peay answered offensively and closed the set with a pair of kills to win 15-8 and claim the match.

Kaitlyn Teeter led the Governors (17-7, 7-1) with 15 kills, while Ashley Slay tallied 13. Kaylee Taff and Sammie Ebright also recorded double-digit kill nights with 11 and 10, respectively.

The Blue Raiders return to conference action when they host Southern Miss on Friday night. Action from AMG is set for a 7 p.m. first serve.