Following a regular season that saw the program win 21 matches for the second straight season and 12 Ohio Valley Conference matches-the most since 2013-Morehead State volleyball opens the 2019 OVC Volleyball Championships Thursday afternoon. The Eagles (21-8, 12-4 OVC) enter as the fourth seed, facing fifth seed Austin Peay (11-19, 9-7) at 4:30 p.m.
In addition to the Eagles and Governors, the 2019 OVC Volleyball Championships field features No. 1 seed and host Jacksonville State (19-9, 13-3), No. 2 seed Southeast Missouri (20-10, 12-4), No. 3 seed Murray State (18-10, 12-4), No. 6 seed UT Martin (13-18, 9-7), No. 7 seed Tennessee Tech (13-16, 9-7), and No. 8 seed SIUE (14-14, 9-7). The three-day event takes place at Pete Mathews Coliseum in Jacksonville, Ala.
Morehead State enters the 2019 OVC Volleyball Championships after claiming the team's 12th OVC weekly award as freshman setter Bridget Bessler garnered OVC Setter of the Week honors. The honor marked her third Setter of the Week nod of the season and the sixth overall weekly award on the season. Bessler's six weekly award wins ties her with Caitlin Clark (six OVC Setter of the Week awards in 2011) as the most honored player in program history.
On the season, Bessler ranks 15th in the NCAA in assists per set, averaging 11.40 helpers per set. She's collected 1,015 assists in 89 sets as her 1,000-plus assists during her freshman seasons make her the 14th setter in program history to surpass 1,000 career kills. Bessler is also the fifth freshman to surpass 1,000 kills in her inaugural campaign and the first since Casie Garland in 2001.
The Eagles also enter the postseason featuring a pair of accomplished offensive options in junior outside hitters Olivia Lohmeier and Lauren Rokey. On the year, Lohmeier and Rokey have combined for 827 of the team's 1,499 kills, collecting 505 and 322 kills, respectively.
With 10 kills against Murray State last Saturday, Lohmeier became the eighth player in program history to surpass 500-plus kills in a season and the first since Ellie Roberson in 2012. Her 2019 season marks the 12th 500-plus kill season in Morehead State history and currently ranks as the ninth-best, single-season total in program history.
Rokey used 23 kills last weekend to craft her third career 300-plus kill season, doing so in each of her first three seasons as an Eagle. She's the fourth player in the 25-Point Rally Scoring Era to string together three-consecutive seasons with 300 or more kills, joining Aryn Bohannon (2011-13), Kaitlin Craven (2008-10), and Ellie Roberson (2010-12).
Defensively, sophomore libero Allison Whitten has collected 447 digs on the year, becoming the first Eagle since Leslie Schellhaas in 2012 and 2013 to record 400 or more digs in back-to-back seasons. Teaming with sophomore defensive specialist Olivia Montelisciani (281 digs), the duo is the first set of teammates since 2012 and 2013 to record 200 or more digs in back-to-back seasons.
At the net, sophomore middle blocker Mia Swearingen totaled 19 solo blocks and 83 block assists, tallying 102.0 total blocks on the season. With Swearingen's 100-plus blocks this season, Morehead State has had a blocker record 100 or more blocks for the fourth straight season.