McMurphey Leads Owls Offensively in Day One of Huntingdon Tournament

McMurphey Leads Owls Offensively in Day One of Huntingdon Tournament

COLUMBUS, Miss. – The Owls women's volleyball team took on Huntingdon College and Agnes Scott College in the first day of the Huntingdon College Volleyball Tournament. The W offense demanded attention but was unable to bring home a victory on Friday, Sept. 7.

Owls vs. Huntingdon College

Haley McMurphey, junior outside hitter, led the Owls offense with 24 total attacks and nine kills in The W's first match at the Huntingdon Volleyball Tournament. The Owls competed hard against the tournament host Huntingdon, but they were unable able to pull a win, falling in three sets 19-25, 9-25, 26-28.

The Owls began the first set behind 0-3. The team quickly regrouped and an error by the Hawks, a service ace by Savannah Thomas, and a kill by Madison Lamon allowed The W to tie the set.  Thomas continued to control the serve and the Owls grabbed their first lead of the match 6-3.

 The W held the lead for several rotations but the Huntingdon offense landed kill after to kill to pull ahead 19-18. The Owls would score one more point on a Hawk attack error but it was not enough to take the set.

In the second set, The W struggled to get its offense moving. Against the Huntingdon defense, the Owls were only able to land two kills.

The Owls game strategy fared better in the third set. The W allowed Huntingdon to open the set with a four-point run before regaining control of serve to tie the set at 9-9.

For the rest of the match, the two teams exchanged points but the Owls were able to pull ahead of the Hawks 21-18 after a kill by Hannah O'Barr, a kill by McMurphey, and several errors by the Hawks.

The Owls reached the coveted set point for a 24-21 lead but allowed the Hawks to get in position to force extra points.

At a score of 24-22, an attack error and a service ace put Huntingdon back in the game. The Hawks continued handle most the serves to take the set and the match 28-26.

McMurphey, a junior from Caledonia, Miss., stepped up offensively for 24 total attacks and nine kills. She also stepped back to help defensively with seven digs.

Other standout Owls were Madison Lamon who led the team with a match high of 11 assists and Sadie Mitchell who led the team with eight digs.

The Owls will not have long to think about match one. The W will move on to face Agnes Scott at 2 p.m. for its second match of the tournament.

Owls vs. Agnes Scott
In the second match of the day, the Owls hung closely with the Scotties in two of the three sets. The W put up a great offensive front but was unable to convert the effort into a victory. The Owls were taken down in three sets, 22-25, 9-25, and 22-25.

Haley McMurphey and Tori Weir led The W offensively with four kills each. McMurphey was able to tally 20 total attacks while Weir put up 13.

Sadie Mitchell led the Owls again defensively with 16 digs. She also collected three service aces, one kill, and 13 total attacks.

Owls Renasant Player of the Month and USCAA Setter of the Week Mary Grace Prine led the Owls in assists with 10. She also tallied three kills, nine total attacks, and seven digs.

"We battled two teams today that were evenly matched with us," said Head Coach Roxanne Hernandez. "We should have come out with two wins, but we just gave too many points away on unforced errors. Our setters and hitters did a good job despite some shaky serve receives in the beginning. For tomorrow, our focus will need to be the same as we had coming in: establish a lead and fight for points to finish."

The Owls will return to action tomorrow, Saturday, Sept. 8 when the take on Tuskegee University at 10 a.m. and North Carolina Wesleyan University at 2 p.m. in day two of the tournament.