Jonesboro (ASU) – The Arkansas State volleyball team swept Arkansas-Pine Bluff in its first match of the 2010 season before falling to Northwestern State in five sets to close out action in the ASU Invitational Friday at the HPESS facility.
The Red Wolves had a crowd of new faces on the hardwood as they topped UAPB 25-12, 25-5, 25-17. Freshman Sadie Clark led the offensive effort with eight kills, while also leading the team with three solo blocks. Sophomore Taylor Coughlin and freshman Ashley Tipps each posted six kills, and Tipps hit for .455 in her first match as a Red Wolf. Freshman libero Megan Baska chalked up 13 digs, while sophomore setter Allison Kearney tallied 17 assists.
"I thought it went well," said ASU head coach Justin Ingram. "We came out and, as expected, nerves were hitting us a little bit. It just took a little bit of time to get in our rhythm and get focused on what we have been doing in practice. Once we adjusted, we certainly responded, and I thought we played pretty well."
In ASU's second match of the day, the Red Wolves fell to NSU 25-11, 21-25, 23-25, 25-16, 14-16. Junior Cayla Fielder pounded out 20 kills against the Lady Demons, while Baska racked up 34 digs. Kearney posted 35 assists, while sophomore setter Emme Russell recorded 26. Coughlin, Baska and sophomore Jasmine Terry each posted two service aces. Terry added three solo blocks in her first match at Arkansas State.
"We added Cayla Fielder tonight, who didn't play this morning and I thought she did a nice job in a new position for her," added Ingram. "She was a middle blocker last year, so it's a big transition to make, going from the middle to the left side. Going into tonight, this was the lineup we have been practicing and what we have been doing a lot of, so I thought we were prepared. But we were riding a giant roller coaster of good things that were happening, and not-so-good. We certainly need to even-out if we are going to maintain a high position within the conference or if we are going to have much success. We have a lot of work to do in order to steady out. We gave up too many points at a time and made too many mistakes that prevented us from taking the match."
In other action at the ASU Invitational, NSU topped Louisiana Tech 3-1 (25-22, 18-25, 25-23, 25-21), while LA Tech swept UAPB 3-0 (25-15, 25-13, 25-19).
Arkansas State returns to action Saturday, Aug. 28 when they take on LA Tech at 3:00 p.m. NSU and UAPB will meet at 1:00 p.m.