By Jason McDaniel, Sports Editor

The Mocs Volleyball time dropped three games over the weekend at the Troy Invitational in Troy, Ala., this weekend. 

The competition was a poor showing for the Mocs, as they only won two individual sets in total, and lost nine. The losses came from Murray State and tournament-hosts Troy on Friday, and Jacksonville on Saturday. 

The first match, played between UTC and Murray State, went to four rounds.

The whole competition started strong for the Mocs, as they won the first set they played. It was a close battle back and forth, but UTC took the set 25-21 thanks to a 5-2 UTC final run wrapped up by Brianna Anderson, Austin, Texas, when she got her fourth kill of the set.

Murray State jumped ahead in the second set and never looked back as they took the set 25-18. They never lost the lead to UTC, but there were three points where the score was tied. The final tie came when the score was 16-16, but the Racers scored nine of the final 11 points to end the set.

Murray State followed that performance with one very similar to it, and another one after that. The final two sets ended with scores of 25-18 and 25-8. UTC’s individual leaders of the match included Anderson with seven kills and six digs, Megan Kaufman, Liberty Township, Ohio, with 14 digs and three assists, Maia Rackel, Signal Mountain, Tenn., with five kills and two blocks, and Bailey Bennett, College Station, Texas, with 10 assists and six digs.

The next match of the tournament came against the Trojans. Troy showed extreme strengths in their matchup with the Mocs, and took the match 3-0. The first and second matches ended with scores of 25-15 and 25-19. Chattanooga wasn’t able to do very much to compete, but they pulled together an 11-4 run in the final set and put pressure on the Trojans, but still lost the match with a final set score of 25-19.

Major performances came from Gylian Finch, Mount Morris, Ill., with seven kills, Dani Szcezepanski, Cincinnati, Ohio, with four kills, Anderson with four more kills, Bennett with seven digs and seven assists, and Kaufman with seven digs.

The Mocs battled against the Jacksonville Dolphins on Saturday, in the final match of the tournament. Chattanooga and Jacksonville looked to be one of the best looking matchups for the Mocs, but after a hard-fought fourth set UTC found themselves on the wrong end of 3-1.

The largest gap in the scores seen through the first set featured the Mocs losing 16 to 10, but they were able to tighten the score up at 23-21 before JU finished them off with two more back-to-back points.

UTC found victory in the second set, but not without having to endure five lead changes and piecing together a 10 point streak in the middle of the set. JU tightened the score at the end of the set to climb within two, but Anderson pulled through late to ensure a victory in the second set 25-22.

The third and fourth sets were both taken by the Dolphins, but held their own for most of each set. They wound up falling 25-17 and 25-15, but were led by strong performances from Bennett, who had 33 assists and 11 digs, her first career double-double, Anderson, who had 10 kills and 12 digs, Rackel, who had 12 kills, Szczepanski with nine kills, Kaufman with 15 digs, and Finch with nine kills and 11 digs. 

With this loss, UTC falls to 2-5 overall. They will play in the Maclellan Gym on Friday and Saturday in the Chattanooga Classic against Tennessee Tech, Manhattan, and North Alabama.

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