Facing the 10th-ranked team in the nation, the Murray State volleyball team battled but ultimately fell in three sets to in-state foe Kentucky.
The Racers led early in every set and were within two at every media timeout, but late runs by the Wildcats propelled them to the victory and to the round of 32 against Purdue.
Murray State finishes the season at 22-10 while UK improves to 25-4 with their 22nd straight victory.
Junior Rachel Giustino led the Racers with 11 kills while also contributing 12 digs. In her final match as a Racer, senior Dacia Brown tallied 10 kills and junior Rachel Holthaus had seven kills while hitting .467.
Sophomore Ashley McBee paced the team with 27 assists and classmate Becca Fernandez had a team-high 17 digs. Redshirt-freshman Kolby McClelland collected two blocks to lead MSU.
Brown opened the scoring for the Racers with a kill to take a very early 1-0 lead. Kentucky responded with three straight points and never relinquished the lead the rest of the set. The Racers got back to within one at 10-9 on a kill by Giustino. MSU managed to keep it close until a 4-0 run by UK extended their lead to 22-16. After a block by McClelland and Holthaus on the All-American Leah Edmond to make it 22-18, the Wildcats won the final three points to win the set.
The second set began with a dump by McBee to take the early lead again and after some back-and-forth play, a 3-0 run by Murray State gave the Racers a 7-5 lead. The teams traded points until the Wildcats tied the set at 14 before finishing the set on an 11-3 run to win the set, 25-17.
Callie Anderton sparked the Racers early in the third set with the first two service aces of the match to give MSU a 4-1 advantage. Kentucky came back to tie the set at seven, but a block by Giustino and McClelland tilted the score back in favor of the Racers. At the media timeout, the Wildcats led 15-14 and similar to the second set, came back out of the huddle strong to finish the set on a 10-5 run to take it 25-19, and the match in straight sets.