Jonesboro (ASU) — The Arkansas State Red Wolves (12-9, 6-3) battled their way to a 3-0 Sun Belt Conference victory over the Florida International Panthers (11-10, 5-4) Sunday afternoon at the ASU Convocation Center. The win was the first over FIU for the A-State squad since 2005.
"We've been playing well for the last week in practice and really competing hard," said ASU head coach Justin Ingram. "We've had some personnel changes, but I'm really proud of how the girls are working out there and competing to win, not in five like early in the season but winning in three."
The Red Wolves fought back and forth with the Panthers, taking set one 25-23 and set two 25-21. Set three came down to the wire as the score deadlocked at 24-24. Out of a timeout, ASU scored on a kill from sophomore Kelsie Hodges, and a FIU attacking error put the set away at 26-24.
Freshman Ashley Tipps led the Red Wolves' offensive effort with 14 kills and a .417 hitting percentage, followed by junior Cayla Fielder with nine and Hodges with eight. Freshman libero Megan Baska added a team-high 17 digs, while sophomore setter Allison Kearney put up double-digits in two categories with 38 assists and 10 digs.
"Ashley has been tremendous the last bunch of matches," added Ingram. "She has been very consistent. Today she was over .400 and was a big reason why we could side-out at such a high efficiency. Both middles were great today, and we couldn't win without them killing the ball like they did."
ASU will be back in action when it travels to Monroe, La. Oct. 29 for a 7:00 p.m. contest against the Warhawks of ULM. The Red Wolves will meet the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns the next day in Lafayette, also at 7:00 p.m.
"Both teams (ULM and ULL) will have different looks that we haven't seen yet, so we'll need to get to work on Monday and see what kind of challenges are ahead of us," said Ingram.