ASU Volleyball falls in five sets at South Alabama

MOBILE, Ala. (10/3/10) — The Arkansas State Red Wolves (7-9, 1-3) battled back from a 2-1 deficit to force a fifth set against South Alabama (8-11, 2-2) Sunday afternoon, but the Jaguars pulled away late in the decisive set to grab a 3-2 victory over ASU in Sun Belt Conference volleyball action at Jaguar Gym.

Sophomore Jasmine Terry led ASU with 14 kills in the match, with sophomore Kelsie Hodges adding 11 and a pair of blocks.  Sophomore setter Allison Kearney posted 45 assists, and freshman Megan Baska led the Red Wolves defensive effort with 30 digs.

Arkansas State struggled to a -.023 hitting percentage in the opening set as South Alabama opened the match with a 25-14 win, but the Red Wolves evened the score at 1-1 with a 25-17 win in the second set.  Terry and Hodges each contributed four kills in the second set as the Red Wolves broke a 7-7 tie with a 10-3 run to help put the set away.

The Jaguars took a 2-1 advantage with a 25-17 win in the third before A-State evened the count a 2-2 with a 25-23 win in the fourth set.  The Red Wolves trailed 22-20 in the fourth before taking advantage of three consecutive South Alabama errors to grab a 23-22 lead.  South Alabama pulled even at 23-23 on an ASU attack error, but the Red Wolves used kills from junior Whitney Nilson and sophomore Taylor Coughlin on the final two points to force the deciding fifth set.  Nilson hammered out five kills to lead the A-State attack in the fourth.

After the two teams battled to an 11-11 deadlock in the fifth, South Alabama managed to outscore ASU 4-1 down the stretch to put the match away.

"The expectations on this team need to increase," said ASU head coach Justin Ingram.  "We've played five sets far too many times and cannot bank on winning all of them.  Our efforts and performance levels needs to be much higher and far more consistent."

Arkansas State will continue Sun Belt Conference play next weekend when the Red Wolves travel to Denton, Texas to face the Mean Green of North Texas Oct. 8.  From there, ASU will continue to Denver, Colo., where the Red Wolves will wrap up a string of four consecutive road games with an Oct. 10 matchup against the Pioneers of Denver.