MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - Despite four Blue Raiders tallying double-digit kills, the Middle Tennessee volleyball team fell to Auburn 3-2 (22-25, 25-15, 23-25, 25-19, 11-15) on Saturday night at the Blue Raider Bash at Alumni Memorial Gym.
Middle Tennessee was led by Maria Szivos with 14 kills and 14 digs to go along with four assists and a trio of blocks.
Three other Blue Raiders also reached double digits in kills as Lindsay Cheatham, Ashley Adams and Oyinlola Oladinni all recorded 11. Led by Oladinni's .579 attack percentage, the Blue Raiders out hit Auburn .276 to .173.
Alyssa Wistrick, who missed most of last season with a knee injury, had her most productive outing since returning this season, posting eight kills and a block in three sets of play.
Defensively, after allowing Auburn to hit .500 in the opening set, Oladinni and Cheatham each recorded four blocks to help the Blue and White out-block the Tigers 10.0 to 9.0.
Brynne Henderson tied a career high with a match-high 21 digs, and Kaylee Kehoe also recorded a career high with seven digs after making her collegiate debut on Friday.
Kehoe also led the team in assists with 26 after entering the match following the break.
Middle Tennessee looked to have an early rhythm going in the opening set, taking an 18-13 lead at one point, but Auburn responded with a 9-1 run to grab the lead for good on the way to winning 25-22.
The Blue Raiders evened it up with an impressive run of their own to ultimately win the second set 25-15. With the score even in the early goings at 5-5, Middle Tennessee reeled off 13 of the ensuing 15 points to grab an insurmountable 18-7 edge.
In a lot of ways, the third set was a similar to the first in that Auburn took advantage of a late set run to grab the lead from Middle Tennessee. After the Blue Raiders went up 22-17, the Tigers scored seven consecutive points, going on to win 25-23.
Szivos and Cheatham put together a strong showing in the fourth set, combining to hit .533 with 10 kills as the Blue and White picked up the 25-19 victory to force a fifth and final set with Auburn for the second consecutive season.
The fifth set featured eight ties and four lead changes, but once again Auburn was able to pick up the necessary points late to win 15-11. The Blue Raiders grabbed the first real advantage of the match at 11-9 on a kill by Szivos to force a Tiger timeout, but AU scored the next six points to secure the victory.
The Blue Raider Bash will conclude Sunday, and the Blue Raiders will next play at the Middle Tennessee Invitational, slated to begin with No. 7 Illinois at Alumni Memorial Gym on Friday at 5 p.m.