Morehead rallied from trailing nearly all match in set three, down 10-6 and 16-13, to tie the set at 18-18 on a Ashley Doscher kill. She had three in a row, and four of five, to give the Eagles a 22-18 edge. From there, Marshall mistakes and Morehead's lack of the same led to a 25-20 final. One of the big stats in the game was Marshall being out-scored down the stretch, 7-2 in game three; 5-2 in game two; and 7-2 in game one.
Marshall falls to 4-3 on the year, while MSU is now 7-1. "It's obvious we have a lot of work to do," said head coach Mitch Jacobs of Marshall. "We don't really want to play focused or hard after 19 or 20 points." Jacobs is looking for players who want to play hard. "They have to relax, push and play to the end. We have a lot of work to do.
"Give Morehead a lot of credit, they probably watched some of the games we played in and saw we don't play the same in the final five points as we do in the first 20. It's going to be an awfully long year if we continue not to play past 20 points."
Marshall was led on the night by senior Jalicia Ross, who had nine kills and only one error. Freshman Layne Kehl had six kills and only two errors on a night the Marshall team totaled 41 kills but 26 errors to 33 kills for MSU and only ten errors. The Eagles were led by Doscher, who had a match-high 16 kills against one error. Elizabeth Fleming, Marshall's sophomore setter, ended the game with 12 digs, second to Morehead's Erin Peak with 16 digs. The Herd only recorded one block against two block errors in the match.
"We're not playing the game of volleyball with intelligence," said Jacobs, who remains three wins away from topping Linda Holmes for the all-time wins mark as a MU volleyball head coach (Holmes had 137). "I thought Liz (Fleming) did a pretty good job, but every time we get an ace, we make a service error. We press on blocks early, then stick our hands up late in the set. We are going to find seven to get out on the court and play with heart. We think we can win a lot of games, but if this is the way we are going to play, you are going to see five freshmen on the floor. We will play young players who don't know any different, who haven't set on the bench waiting for their turn and then not finishing."
Marshall didn't exactly fly out of the gate in game one, trailing early, but stormed ahead 14-12. Back came the Eagles, tying the contest at 18-18 and moving on to a 21-18 lead by winning 8-of-9 points. Marshall would get no closer than 21-19, as MSU took four of the last five points in a 25-20 win over the Herd when Doscher put away the Herd with a final kill.
In match two, the Herd never trailed until late in the contest. There were five ties in the set, with a 20-20 tie being number four. On that Morehead point, Jacobs was given a "yellow" card over his protests of a double-hit by Morehead not called by the referee, one of many close calls that went against the Herd all evening. Marshall took a 21-20 lead when Ross made a soft kill. Back came MSU, tying the score at on an MU error, 21-21, then taking their first lead 22-21 on a kill by Doscher. She had the 24th and 25th points on kills, sandwiched around a kill by sophomore Elizabeth Herman of Marshall, to make the final 25-22 Morehead and a 2-0 lead in two sets in the match. Match three was nearly a carbon copy of the first two as MSU leads the all-time series, 42-15 now.
The Herd will travel for the next two matches at two long-time rivals, then to East Carolina for a tournament. The "Battle for the Golden Ball" with West Virginia is up Friday night in Morgantown with the Mountaineers. Jacob's teams have never lost to WVU. Next Tuesday, Marshall will be in Oxford, Ohio to face the Miami-Ohio Redhawks, a former Mid-American Conference rival. Marshall is in Greenville, N.C. on September 19-20 for the ECU Tournament, facing the Pirates in a Conference USA match on Friday, then playing Morgan State and N.C. State on Saturday.