– The Arkansas State volleyball squad defeated Southern Illinois 3-0 (25-22, 25-23, 25-19) in its first match of the Golden Hurricane Classic before besting the host team Tulsa 3-0 (25-22, 25-14, 25-16) Friday at the Donald W. Reynolds Center in Tulsa, Okla.
A-State (8-1) raced out to a 10-6 lead in the first set after a Carlisa May kill and stretched the advantage to 19-14 on a Darby Graff block that forced a Southern Illinois (5-3) timeout. SIU battled back to tie the set at 22-22, but an attack error by the Salukis and two consecutive May kills gave the Red Wolves a 25-22 set win and 1-0 edge in the match.
The Salukis jumped out to an early 10-6 edge in set two, but A-State tied things at 11-11 on a Drew Jones kill. Both teams seemed to trade points until Arkansas State went up 22-20 on a Mallory Warrington kill, but a 3-1 SIU run tied the set at 23-23. However, the Red Wolves squashed any of the Salukis’ hopes with kills from May and Markie Schaedig to claim a 25-23 set victory and 2-0 advantage in the match.
Southern Illinois began the third set well by earning a 10-7 advantage, but A-State fought back to take a 15-14 edge on a Lindsay Cline service ace. The Salukis tied the set at 15-15 on the next point, but the Red Wolves picked up the next point for a 16-15 lead on an attack error and didn’t relinquish the advantage the rest of the set. A kill by Graff clinched a 25-19 win in the set and a 3-0 victory for the Red Wolves.
“Both teams play the same style because we both want to play fast,” A-State head volleyball coach David Rehr said. “I thought it would come down to whoever played uncomfortably the best and I felt like we did that. We were happy to get the win against a very good SIU team.”
Jones and May led the Red Wolves with 11 kills each, while Mallory Warrington handed out 31 assists. Schaedig led the team with 12 digs, while Hannah Robey added seven digs on the defensive side. Graff led A-State with three blocks, including two block solos, while Kelsey Reis and Cline had two service aces apiece.
A-State started a little slow in the nightcap against Tulsa (3-5) by letting the Golden Hurricane race out to a 10-5 lead in set one. The Red Wolves fought back to tie the match up 15-15 on a May kill and took the edge 17-16 on a Robey service ace. A-State didn’t give up the lead the rest of the set and went on to clinch a 25-22 on a May kill for a 1-0 match advantage.
The Red Wolves raced out to an 8-3 lead in the second set on a Warrington kill that forced a Tulsa timeout. The Golden Hurricane would cut their deficit to 10-8, but never got any closer as A-State closed the set on a 15-6 run, capped by another May kill, for a 2-0 edge. A-State continued the momentum into the third set by never trailing in the set. Tulsa got within 23-16, but kills by Anna Murphy and Jones gave the Red Wolves a 25-16 set win and 3-0 match victory to improve to 8-1 on the season.
“We played really well against Tulsa,” Rehr added. “I felt like we might have come out sluggish against SIU because we were looking forward to facing the home team tonight, but we played very well in all facets of the game. We came out very enthusiastic and when we play like we did tonight there aren’t many teams we feel like can beat us.”
Jones led the team with 14 kills against Tulsa on a .371 hitting percentage, while May and Graff each registered 13 kills apiece on .478 and .480 attacking percentages, respectively. Warrington had 40 assists to lead the squad, while Schaedig (14) and Robey (10) had double-digit digs.
The Red Wolves return to action Saturday morning against Stephen F. Austin at 10:30 a.m. to close out the Golden Hurricane Classic. For the latest on the A-State volleyball squad follow the team on Twitter (@stAteVolleyball) and Instagram (astatevolleyball).