Carrying the legacies of each of the alumni who came before them and continuing the groundwork laid to bring the program to the heights it reached in 2020-21, Morehead State volleyball continued to soar Wednesday afternoon, earning the program's first NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball Championship victory.
The Eagles (17-1) defeated (RV) Creighton (12-4) in five sets, not only earning the program's first-ever NCAA Tournament set victory, but also the program's first NCAA victory. Morehead State defeated the Bluejays behind scores of 22-25, 25-23, 25-23, 14-25, 15-13 to earn the historic victory.
Outside hitters, senior Olivia Lohmeier and sophomore Abby Hulsman led the way offensively, each collecting a team-best 17 kills as the total fell just short of a match-high. Lohmeier's 17 kills came with a .286 hitting efficiency while Hulsman's career-high 17 kills featured a .314 hitting percentage.
Joining the duo of Lohmeier and Hulsman in double-figures was senior outside hitter Lauren Rokey who added 11 kills as the trio become the first players in program history to have 10 or more kills in an NCAA Tournament match.
Morehead State also received five and four kills, respectively, from middle blockers, redshirt freshman McKenzee Wagener and junior Mia Swearingen while sophomore setter Bridget Bessler added three kills. Junior middle blocker Hannah Keating and junior defensive specialist Olivia Montelisciani also tallied a kill each with both coming on the two's lone attack.
In addition to her three kills, Bessler tallied a match-best and Morehead State NCAA Tournament record 49 assists.
Allowing Bessler and the Morehead State offense to stay in rhythm all afternoon, the Eagles' defense starred, scooping up 68 total digs. Junior libero Allison Whitten captained the defense, collecting a team-best 19 digs, marking a program record in an NCAA Tournament match.
Also reaching double-digit digs for Morehead State was Montelisciani who dug up 12 balls while redshirt junior Taylor Hodges added eight digs, Bessler and Lohmeier chipped in seven digs, and sophomore Andrea Grimes added six roaming the backline of the Eagle defense.
Morehead State also applied the pressure in the service game, landing a match-high seven service aces. Bessler, Lohmeier, and Whitten each landed two aces apiece while Montelisciani added another.
The Eagles now turn their attention to the Second Round of the 2020-21 NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball Championship, meeting No. 8 national seed Florida. The match airs on ESPN3 and features a 3:30 p.m. ET first serve.