The Murray State volleyball team battled UNLV in their first match of the Billiken Invitational, falling to the Rebels in four sets.
With the setback, the Racers fall to .500 at 5-5 while UNLV improves to 7-3.
Junior Rachel Giustino and senior Dacia Brown led MSU with 11 kills each, while junior Courtney Radle hit a team-high .368 with eight kills against just one error. Sophomore Callie Anderton paced the team with 31 assists and classmate Becca Fernandez tied a season-high with 21 digs.
In the first set, the Rebels held on to a slim lead early on and expanded it to four at 13-9, but the Racers responded with a 4-0 run, culminating with a service ace by Anderton. Murray State stayed close for a little bit longer before UNLV ended the set on a 6-1 run to take the set, 25-19.
The second set played out similar to the first as the Rebels took an early lead, holding onto a slim lead for most of the set before pulling away late, taking the set by the same score as the first, 25-19.
The Racers put it together in the third set, as they hit .324. After back and forth play early in the third, Brown delivered a kill to give the Racers a 14-11 lead. UNLV fought back to take an 18-17 lead, but the Racers followed with their best stretch of the day, going on a 6-0 run, which included two kills by Brown, a kill by sophomore Katirah Johnson and an ace from Giustino, to take control as they came out on the right end of a 25-19 set.
MSU was unable to grab the momentum as the Rebels pulled away midway through the fourth set before going on an 8-1 run to end it and take the set, 25-14, and the match.
The Racers are back in action tomorrow at the Billiken Invitational when they take on host Saint Louis at noon before playing their final non-conference match of the season against UMKC at 5:00.