Red Wolves sweep UAPB and Jackson State

JONESBORO, AR - The Arkansas State volleyball team improved to 4-1 on the season with a pair of victories in the ASU Classic.  The Red Wolves opened play in the tournament by pounding Arkansas-Pine Bluff (0-5) 3-0, then closed out the day's action with a 3-0 victory over Jackson State (0-4).

"I thought it was important coming into the tournament that we started off strong," said ASU head coach Justin Ingram.  "This past weekend it took us a while to get going, so it was important to us to work hard in practice on starting great.  We came out against Pine Bluff, and we did that.  Because of our serving, we were given a lot of easy opportunities.  I was happy with how we came out and how we sustained that level of play."

In the opener, Arkansas State rolled past UAPB, defeating the Lions 25-7, 25-10 and 25-6.  Freshman Taylor Coughlin led the Red Wolves with nine kills, followed by freshman Brittany Hoag with eight kills.  The Red Wolves hit .455 as a team in the match while holding UAPB to a -.232.

Freshman Kelsie Hodges and sophomore Charlyn Ursell added six kills each, with Hodges hitting .750 in the match and Ursell hitting a solid .500.

"In the match against UAPB, Char played tremendous and had a lot of kills and high attacks for us," added Ingram.  "It was a big match for her."

In the Red Wolves' second match of the day, Hoag pounded out ten kills, and sophomore Cayla Fielder added nine to go along with eight from Ursell to help ASU defeat the Tigers 25-8, 25-8 and 25-20.

"Against Jackson State, Cayla Fielder had zero errors and hit for very high efficiency," Ingram explained.

Fielder hit at a .529 clip against the Tigers.

Senior libero Heather Bowman had 18 digs, and junior setter Laura Bennett added 36 assists to the Red Wolves' effort.  Bowman finished the day with a team-high 31 digs in the two matches combined, while Bennett tallied 50 assists.

In the tournament's other match, Houston Baptist defeated UAPB 3-0 (25-13, 25-11, 25-10).

HBU will open the tournament's second day of play against Jackson State Saturday at 10:00 a.m., before taking on the Red Wolves at noon.  UAPB and Jackson State will close out the tournament at 2:00 p.m.