Visiting SIUE Volleyball gave Morehead State everything it had at Johnson Arena Friday night, but in the end it was the Eagles who persevered for the come-from-behind 3-2 victory to vault MSU into first place in the Ohio Valley Conference with its 11th consecutive victory.
MSU (15-9/11-2 OVC) came out with all cylinders on fire in the first set with 19 kills and just one error in a 25-13 triumph. But, the Cougars (5-19/2-11 OVC) made adjustments and proceeded to take a 2-1 advantage by winning set two 25-19 and set three 25-23. SIUE had match point in the fourth at 24-23, but Eagles Olivia Lohmeier and Maycie Welborn prevented that with three kills for a 26-24 win. MSU then smashed in 10 kills on its way to a 15-4 match-clincher in the finale. The Eagles are now 4-2 in matches that go the distance.
Morehead State had a decisive advantage in kills (72-52) but the Cougars' net defense turned back 11 blocks, limiting the Eagles to less than .200 hitting in sets two through four.
Sophomore setter Bridget Bessler came within one kill of a triple-double, which would have been only the ninth in program history and first since 2017. She finished with a career-high nine kills on a .300 attack night, 54 assists and 12 digs for her ninth double-double of the year.
Lohmeier concluded the match with a team-high 18 kills and hit .235, while freshman Maycie Welborn performed her finest as an Eagle with a career-high 15 kills, three blocks and a .379 hitting clip with just four errors off the right side. Sophomore Abby Hulsman (11) and freshman McKenzee Wagener (10) also reach double-digit kills. Freshman Irene Wogenstahl also had nine kills, nearly giving all players who registered kills double-digit spikes tonight.
MSU's back row came up with 76 digs, led by junior libero Allison Whitten with 18. Sophomore Andrea Grimes (12), along with senior Taylor Hodges (11) and junior Olivia Montelisciani (11) also scooped double-digit Cougar attempts.
The match featured 26 ties and 10 lead changes. SIUE was led by Savannah Christian and Julia Treichel with 12 kills apiece. Jessica Vineyard and Annie Ellis had five blocks each.
The teams will put the wraps on the weekend series Saturday at 11 a.m. ET.