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HUNTINGTON — Sydney Lostumo issued her 2,000th career assist Saturday afternoon, but it wasn’t enough to keep Marshall from losing 3-1 to Middle Tennessee in college volleyball at Cam Henderson Center.

A 6-foot graduate student from Gilbert, Arizona, Lostumo needed 35 assists and made 45 in the 23-25, 25-23, 22-25, 19-25 defeat that dropped the Thundering Herd to 5-12 overall, 1-3 in Conference USA. The Blue Raiders improved to 5-5, 3-1.

Lostumo has 2,010 assists in her collegiate career with 1,618 coming in her time at Marshall and 392 from two seasons at Fresno State. She is currently 10th all-time at Marshall and needs 49 to move ahead of Colette Marquis (1992-94) for ninth place. Lostumo added 11 digs for her eighth double-double of the year.

Graduate-student Ciara DeBell led the Herd on offense with 17 kills and just two errors in 46 total attacks, good for a .326 hitting percentage. DeBell moved into fourth place in program history in total attacks with 3,801, surpassing Laura Der (2010-13) in the loss. Senior Macy McElhaney was second with 15 kills and hit at a .303 clip. Graduate-student Destiny Leon and sophomore Anna Calcagno had eight kills each. Leon also had two aces. Junior Lydia Montague finished with five kills.

Senior libero Sarah Schank led the team with 24 digs and was a perfect 39 for 39 on receptions. Freshman Brynn Brown recorded seven digs, one ace and one assist. Sophomore Riley Winslow tallied two digs and one ace. Marshall recorded 12 team blocks. McElhaney and Montague led the way with six each. Leon finished with five as her streak moves to 59-straight matches with a block and she has tallied two or more rejections in every match this season. Leon now has 290 blocks in her career and moved into 10th place all-time at Marshall, surpassing Uche Ndubisi (2004-07) who had 287. Calcagno had two blocks while DeBell and Lostumo had one each.

The match was a back-and-forth battle that featured many long rallies as well as 22 total ties and 10 lead changes throughout the day. The first set featured seven ties and two lead changes. The Herd had the lead late until Middle Tennessee fought back and tied the set at 23-23, then scored the final two points to take a 1-0 lead. Schank had eight digs in set one including three in a long rally that ended in a Marshall point.

The second set had five more ties and two lead changes. DeBell dominated the frame with nine kills and no errors in 13 total attacks for a .692 attack percentage. The Blue Raiders kept things close once again tying the set at 23-23. DeBell blasted her ninth kill of the set to move it to set-point, and then Montague had a solo block to finish at 25-23, and tie the match at 1-1.

Both teams fought to take command in the third set with eight ties and four lead changes. Lostumo tallied her 2,000th career assist on a kill from McElhaney that gave the Herd a two-point lead at 17-15. The teams continued to trade points with the final tie coming at 22-22 and then Middle Tennessee took the lead, 23-22. The Blue Raiders scored the last two points and took a 2-1 lead.

The fourth set had two ties and two lead changes early before Middle Tennessee took control with a long run. The Blue Raiders built up a double-digit lead, however Marshall fought back late closing the gap to five at 20-15 and then bringing the deficit to three at 21-18. The Blue Raiders stayed out in front and closed out the set and the match to get the split for the weekend.

Marshall hits the road for its next two matches at Florida Atlantic on Oct. 8-9. Both matches are set for a 1 p.m. first serve.

Tim Stephens is a sports writer with The Herald-

Dispatch.

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