Recording the program's most overall and conference wins and making a return to the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament Championship match for the first time since 2013, Morehead State volleyball saw its magnificent seasons come to an end Saturday evening.
The fourth-seeded Eagles (23-8, 12-4 OVC) dropped the finale of the 2019 OVC Volleyball Championship, dropping a hard-fought match to No. 2 Southeast Missouri (23-10, 12-4) by scores of 24-26, 19-25, and 26-28.
Upon the conclusion of the Championship match, sophomore middle blocker Hannah Keating and junior outside hitter Olivia Lohmeier were named to the 2019 OVC Volleyball Championship All-Tournament Team. During the Eagles' three matches in the OVC Tournament, Lohmeier led the Eagles with 47 kills (4.70 per set) and three service aces while Keating crafted a .625 hitting efficiency, collecting 31 kills (3.10 per set).
Against Southeast Missouri, Keating, Lohmeier, and junior outside hitter Lauren Rokey combined to pace Morehead State in kills for the third straight match. The trio, led by Lohmeier's 16 kills, combined for 40 of the Eagles' 50 kills with Rokey and Keating adding 13 and 11 kills, respectively. Keating also led Morehead State in hitting efficiency for the third consecutive match, hitting .647 (11-0-17).
Directing the Eagles' offense, freshman setter Bridget Bessler passed out 39 assists, averaging 13 assists per set. She also added eight digs in the match, nearly tallying her 10th double-double of the season. During the 2019 OVC Volleyball Championships, Bessler passed out 124 assists (12.40 per set) while adding 28 digs.
Defensively, Morehead State collected 60 digs while collecting 4.5 blocks at the net. Sophomores, libero Allison Whitten and defensive specialist Olivia Montelisciani scooped up double-figure balls, tallying 16 and 10 digs, respectively. The duo collected double-digit digs in all three matches of the 2019 OVC Volleyball Championships, recording 41 and 31 digs, respectively, during the event.
At the net, four Eagles recorded two block assists apiece as Bessler, Keating, Rokey, and sophomore middle blocker Mia Swearingen each deterred two Southeast Missouri attacks. With two blocks Saturday evening, Swearingen concluded the 2019 OVC Volleyball Championships with 14 total blocks, including four solos.
As the 2019 season comes to a close, Morehead State achieved its best overall (23) and conference (11) wins for the second straight season while also returning the OVC Tournament Championship for the first time since 2013. The Eagles also placed multiple players on the All-OVC First Team for the second consecutive season, collecting three First Team All-OVC honorees for the first time since 2013.
In 2019, Lohmeier became the first Eagle since Ellie Roberson in 2012 to surpass 500 kills in a season, ending the year with 552 terminations as her season total marks the fifth-best single-season kill total in program history. Rokey, ending the season with 366 kills, became the fourth Eagle since 2008 to record 300 or more kills in three consecutive seasons and the first since Aryn Bohannon (2011-13).
At the setter position, Bessler became the fifth freshman setter in program history to pass out 1,000 or more kills in a season and the first since Casie Garland in 2001. She also finishes the season having passed out 11.51 assists per set, the most by an Eagles since Caitlin Clark in 2011. Bessler also chipped in 218 digs on the year, ensuring that for the sixth straight year, a freshman has collected 200 or more digs.
Roaming the backline, Whitten and Montelisciani recorded 488 and 312 digs, respectively, to become the first set of teammates since 2012 and 2013 to record 200 or more digs in back-to-back seasons. The duo also led the Morehead State in service aces as Montelisciani landed 41 and Whitten 35. Montelisciani is the first Eagle since 2013 with 40 or more aces in a season while the duo is the first set of teammates since 2013 to each have 30 or more aces in a year.
At the net, Swearingen turned away 116 opponent attacks, collecting 23 solo blocks and 93 block assists. Her 23 solo blocks are the most by an Eagle since Hannah Sigala (25) in 2015 while her 100-plus total blocks give Morehead State a blocker with 100 or more blocks in a season for the fourth consecutive season.
Keating, ending the season with a .344 hitting percentage, fashioned the eighth most-efficient offensive season in program history, collecting 213 kills on 436 swings while committing only 63 errors. She's also the first Eagles since Holly Evans in 2010 to hit .320 or better in a season.