For the first time since 2013, Morehead State volleyball claimed the Ohio Valley Conference's automatic berth to the NCAA Women's Volleyball Championship behind a straight-set sweep of Jacksonville State Friday night at Johnson Arena.
The No. 1 seed in the OVC Volleyball Championship, the Eagles defended their home floor, claiming the program's fifth OVC Tournament Championship behind scores of 25-15, 25-17, and 25-18. The victory marks Morehead State's third NCAA Tournament berth, all claimed on its home floor.
Morehead State's trio of OVC All-Tournament members led the team offensively, slamming home 34 of the team's 47 kills, each reaching double-figures. Senior outside hitter Lauren Rokey—the tournament's Most Valuable Player—led the group with a match-high 13 kills while senior outside hitter Olivia Lohmeier and sophomore outside hitter Abby Hulsman added 11 and 10 kills, respectively.
Middle blockers, junior Mia Swearingen and redshirt freshman McKenzee Wagener added 10 combined kills, tallying four and six, respectively, while sophomore setter Bridget Besslerdumped in three additional kills.
Bessler also led Morehead State to a .356 team hitting efficiency as the Eagles committed just 11 errors on 101 total attempts. She also dished out a match-best 38 assists (12.67 per set) while adding nine digs as she neared a double-double.
Defensively, junior libero Allison Whitten paced the Eagles backline with a match-high 16 digs, scooping up 5.33 per set. Junior defensive specialist Olivia Montelisciani joined Whitten in double-figures, digging up 14 balls.
At the net, Morehead State stymied Jacksonville State's attack, holding the Gamecocks to a .143 team hitting efficiency, the Gamecocks second-lowest percentage of the season. The Eagles stuffed nine blocks in the match, including a season-best three solo blocks as Wagener led the team with five total blocks with Lohmeier adding four.
Morehead State also controlled the service game, landing five total winners in the match. Redshirt junior defensive specialist Taylor Hodges piloted the service game, landing three of the Eagles' five aces as Montelisciani and Lohmeier each added a winner apiece.
After earning the OVC's automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament, the Eagles await the reveal of its opening round opponent. The NCAA Selection Show commences Sunday on ESPNU.