CLARKSVILLE — The last time the Murray State volleyball team played a match in the Winfield Dunn Center, the Racers left the building with the OVC Tournament Championship trophy. While the stakes may not have been as high tonight, the Racers got off to a fast start in pursuit of the Battle of the Border trophy, defeating Austin Peay in four sets.
The Racers improve to 10-7 overall and 4-1 in the OVC while the Governors fall to 5-14 and 3-2 in conference play.
Rachel Giustino led the Racers with 30 kills while hitting .472. Rachel Holthaus also had a huge game with 17 kills on a .357 hitting percentage while Kolby McClelland chipped in with seven kills. As a team, the Racers hit .314 including .577 in the clinching fourth set.
Ashley McBee dished out a career-high 55 assists for an average of 13.75 per set while Becca Fernandez had 23 digs. Giustino and Alex Kaufmann also chipped in with 12 digs.
The first set was close early until the Racers went on a 9-2 run to take a 21-12 lead. Alysha Smith and Holthaus teamed up for a block to give the Racers set point at 24-14 before the Governors won six straight points to make it more interesting. However, an attack by Austin Peay went into the antenna to give the Racers the set, 25-20.
The second set was similar to the first as the score was tied at 10 before the Racers went on an 11-2 run to take a 21-12 lead. The two teams traded points the rest of the way as MSU won the set, 25-17 on a kill by Holthaus.
In the third set, it was Austin Peay’s turn to go on a run with the score tied about 20 points into the set as they went on a 9-3 run to take a 20-14 lead. The Racers were able to cut their deficit to four but the APSU held on to win 25-20.
The Racers buckled down in the fourth set as they won four straight points to take a 10-7 lead they would not give up. Austin Peay cut the Racer lead to 16-14, but Murray State ended the match-winning the final nine points, culminating with Giustino’s 30th kill to give the Racers the four-set victory.
Murray State will return to action Saturday when they travel to Eastern Kentucky to take on the Colonels at 2 p.m.