Charlotte volleyball got a season-high performance of 21 kills from senior captain Amanda Videmsek (Highland Heights, Ohio / Beaumont School), but the 49ers were not able to outlast visiting Middle Tennessee 3-2 (18-25, 25-14, 24-26, 18-25, 13-15) by the closest of margins Sunday at Halton Arena in Conference USA action. The Blue Raiders improve to 13-7 overall, 5-2 in league, while the 49ers slip to 10-13 overall, 0-8 in league play.
Both teams played up and down in the match, which got all the way to a tie score at 13-all in the finale set before a pair of MT kills ended for the visitors in the topsy-turvy affair. Charlotte is now 10-5 in five-set matches since the start of the 2011 season.
Charlotte came out firing on all cylinders in the opening frame, with 16 kills and one error for a .417 attack percentage in the first for the opening-set win. After the changeover, Middle put together its best set of the afternoon, also with 16 kills and one error (on just 24 attempts) for a .625 attack percentage to even the match at one set each heading to intermission.
Charlotte and Middle played to 10 ties and a pair of lead changes in the third, with Charlotte rallying from down 19-14, then 24-22 to come back and get the lead back. An attack error by the Blue Raiders and a pair of Niners kills pushed the team over for the set win. Charlotte hit .371 in the third set. Freshman Claire Kreuz (Boerne, Texas / Samuel Champion HS) had six kills, with Videmsek adding five in the third frame.
Charlotte got out to a 3-1 lead in the fourth, but the Blue Raiders responded with a 10-3 run and the Niners never got to within three the rest of that set to the tiebreaking fifth.
The final set was a microcosm of the match, with seven ties and three league changes. The 49ers started up 5-1, only to see MT storm back on a 5-0 run to take a 6-5 edge. The Niners then accumulated a 5-1 run on several Middle errors at a 10-8 deficit to sit in winning position, up 13-11. Kills by three different MT players, and one Charlotte error gave the Blue Raiders a 4-0 closing run to win the match.
Charlotte has played to a two-point set margin nearly a quarter of the time this season (19 times in 83 season sets, with a 6-13 record in those), with five more sets decided by three points (1-4).
Videmsek’s 21 kills were one more than her 20 in a five-set win over Chattanooga on Sept. 6 and just two away of her career-high 23 against UM-Kansas City on Sept. 8, 2012. Videmsek added 11 digs to tie sophomore setter Britney Leigh Held (Brookfield, Wis. / Brookfield Central HS) with the team-high in double-doubles with six.
Held had 53 assists, the third-highest total of her career. She added seven digs. Kreuz tallied 16 kills, the second-highest total of her young career. It was her 10th match with 10-or-more kills this season and pushed her season total over 200, now at 203.
Sophomore libero Michelle Hovey (Raleigh, N.C. / Lighthouse) collected 20 digs in the match. She is just four away from 400 for the season.
Charlotte plays just one match next weekend, a Saturday afternoon match at Marshall, beginning at 2 p.m.