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Tue, Sep. 12, 2017 - [Volleyball]

MOORE, Okla. – The early part of the volleyball season for Mid-America Christian University could easily be summed up by the phrase "so close, and yet so far." On Tuesday evening, the Lady Evangels battled fiercely to the end, but suffered yet another close loss.

MACU (1-7) went to a fifth set for the second match in a row and for the fourth time in the first eight matches of the year, yet the Lady Evangels were unable to find the victory, and it was Randall University (9-6) who emerged victorious 3-2 in the match.

MACU started slow as Randall came out of the gates with a tremendous amount of energy. The Saints eased out to a modest lead in the middle stages of set one, and despite MACU rallying late, the Saints won the first set 25-21. The second set was more of the same, and suddenly, MACU found themselves down in the match 2-0 after dropping the second set 25-20.

But in the third set, the Lady Evangels dug deep and took control. MACU out-killed Randall in the third set 14-9, and the Lady Evangels out-hit the Saints .313 to .097 in the set, and MACU took the frame 25-20 to extend the match. The Evangels raced out to a big lead in the fourth set as well, but late in the frame the momentum began to shift. MACU was able to stave off the rally to force a decisive fifth set, but the energy helped fuel the Saints.

With the home crowd energizing the atmosphere, the Saints jumped out to a 7-2 lead in the decisive stanza, but the Lady Evangels mustered one final charge. MACU rallied to tie the set at 7-7, but Randall closed the match on an 8-2 run to take the set win 15-9 and the match 3-2.

Laurel Church led the Evangels with 14 kills, and she added eight digs in the match. Da'Jah Thompson notched nine kills, Melissa Hoppal posted another double-double with 29 assists and 16 digs, and Gabrielle Poling posted 13 digs as well. MACU had 15 service aces in the match as well, led by Church (4), Hoppal (3), and Adanna York (3) leading the way.

MACU will be back in Sooner Athletic Conference play on Thursday evening when they make the trip to Chickasha, Oklahoma to take on the University of Science and Arts Drovers (1-6, 0-2). First serve is slated for 7 p.m.