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Shawnee State tops UPike volleyball in four sets

PIKEVILLE, Ky. – Shawnee State and the University of Pikeville battled back-and-forth all match long, but in the end it was the Bears from Portsmouth, Ohio that had more in the tank, beating UPIKE 3-1 on Thursday.

Sydney Hall posted a team-best 14 kills for Pikeville, while Chelsea Staples added nine and Audri Ray tallied eight. Shawnee State had three players reach double figures in kills, including Christina Shelton (15), and Kristi Humble and Tiffany Jackson with 10 each.

Hall’s 14 kills were the most this season for a Pikeville player in a four-set match.

UPIKE (13-15, 2-11 MSC) finished with a .149 hitting percentage, slightly lower than Shawnee State (13-11, 6-6 MSC) at .170. They needed the higher hitting mark as Pikeville dominated the match at the net, sending back 15 blocks compared to just four for Shawnee State.

Haley Esquivel paced the UPIKE defense with four blocks, while Dominique Melvin collected 22 digs and Rachel Murphy chipped in with 10. Setter Sydney Morris had a match high 39 assists.

Like Hall, Melvin’s digs and Morris’ assists were season high’s when playing four sets.

Shawnee State jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the opening set thanks to four straight attack errors. UPIKE made the right corrections though to take a 12-11 lead on a kill from Staples and would go on to lead by as many as six points at 19-13. The set was closed out 25-20 by UPIKE on an error by Brittany Mounts.

It ended up being the only set UPIKE would win as Shawnee State posted three straight 25-20, 25-19 and 27-25 sets to win the match.
UPIKE looked like it had a chance to steal the fourth set after starting slow once again at 6-1. Trailing 15-9 after a Jackson kill, Pikeville scored six straight points with Melvin serving to tie the score.

Shawnee State took the lead on the next point and held on for the win, although the set went past regulation after UPIKE tied it twice at 24-24 and 25-25. A kill by Shelton and Devan Scarberry on back-to-back points ended the match.

Pikeville goes on the road Friday for a pair of matches in Grayson, Ky. UPIKE plays Ohio Valley first at 7 p.m. ET, followed by Kentucky Christian at 9 p.m.

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