ASU Volleyball to host Southeast Missouri State on Tuesday

From Arkansas State University

The Arkansas State volleyball team will host Southeast Missouri State on Sept. 13 at 6 p.m. at the HPESS Facility. This will be the Red Wolves' first home match of the season.

THE SOUTHEAST MISSOURI STATE SERIES: Arkansas State holds a narrow 21-20 margin in the all-time series between the two schools. SEMO won the last meeting 3-1 in 2009 at the Memphis Invitational. ASU's last victory over Southeast Missouri State was a 3-1 victory in 2005.

CHASING HISTORY: Cayla Fielder is 10th on the all-time Arkansas State kills list and needs just 11 more to move into to a tie for ninth place all-time. Fielder currently has 1,133 kills and Pip Soulsby is ninth with 1,144.

SEASON HIGHS: Junior Jasmine Terry and sophomore Ashley Tipps each enjoyed a solid week last week. Terry posted a season-high 16 kills against South Dakota and finished with 43 kills on the week, good for a 2.39 kills per set average. Tipps posted a season-high 16 kills against Hofstra and finished with .556 attacking percentage in that match. She finished with 34 kills, three aces and 11 block assists on the week.

NEW FACES: The Red Wolves welcome three newcomers to the squad this season. Freshman A'Zlynn Thompson joins the Red Wolves from Dodge City, Kansas, while freshman Marie Hadar comes from Humboldt, Iowa. Junior Amanda Chaparro joins the team from Baymon, Puerto Rico after spending the last two seasons with Western Carolina.

ALL-TOURNAMENT HONORS:Cayla Fielder, Jasmine Terry and Allison Kearney were all named to the All-Tournament team at the Lipcomb Invitational. Fielder was also named tournament MVP.

BASKA EARNS SBC DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK HONORS: The Sun Belt Conference announced that Arkansas State sophomore libero Megan Baska earned SBC Defensive Players of the Week honors for the week of Aug. 29 after setting a new career-high in digs at the Samford/UAB Invitational.

Baska set a career-high with 40 digs against Alabama-Birmingham on Friday, missing the all-time ASU single match record by just five digs. She finished with 77 total digs and averaged 5.92 digs per set over the Red Wolves three matches.

Her 12 digs against Akron led A-State to 3-0 victory over the Lady Zips, while she added 25 digs against Samford.

BASKA MOVES INTO THIRD PLACE IN SBC RECORD BOOK: In just their second match of the season, Arkansas State's Megan Baska moved into the Sun Belt Conference rally-scoring era record books. Against UAB, the sophomore put up 40 digs in the five-set match to move into third place for total digs in a match.

The mark was also a career-high for the 2011 Preseason and 2010 Sun Belt

Conference Defensive Player of the year, coming up just five short of ASU's all-time single match record for digs. She finished with 77 digs in three matches, good for a 5.92 digs per set average

Baska, Fielder Earn SBC Preseason Honors; Red Wolves Picked Second in Preseason Coaches' Poll: In preparation for the start of the women's volleyball season, the Sun Belt Conference released its preseason awards, all-conference team and coaches' poll Wednesday morning.

Arkansas State sophomore Megan Baska was named the 2011 SBC Preseason Defensive Player of the Year, while ASU senior Cayla Fielder was selected to her third-straight preseason All-SBC team. The Red Wolves were picked to finish second in the West Division in the preseason coaches' poll, as voted on by the league's 12 head coaches.

Baska was named the SBC Defensive Player of the Year in 2010 after an impressive freshman season. She was named SBC Player of the Week four times, selected as a Collegiate Volleyball Top Performer of the Week and named a Rising Star of the 2010 freshman class. She totaled 564 digs, ranking her seventh on the ASU single-season digs chart and led the league with a 5.08 digs per set average, which also ranked 37th nationally.

"The preseason honors awarded to both Megan and Cayla are great for our program and shows they are individually respected by other coaches in the league based on last year's performances," ASU volleyball coach Justin Ingram said. "We will certainly use this as momentum and look forward to competing in the upcoming matches this Friday and Saturday."

Fielder's selection to the preseason All-SBC team marks the third of her career. She was named to the All-SBC Team following the 2009 and 2010 seasons and led the Red Wolves with 332 kills in 2010, leaving her just four shy of 1,000 for her career. Her 3.73 kills per set average was second best in the conference and she ranked third on the team with 48 total blocks. Fielder was named the 2008 Freshman of the Year and earned Second Team All-SBC honors that same season.

The Red Wolves received 60 points in the poll with four first place votes, while North Texas topped the West Division with 65 points. Middle Tennessee and Western Kentucky totaled 66 points each to lead the East Division.

Head Coach Justin Ingram: Justin Ingram enters his third year as head coach of the Red Wolves for the 2011 season, boasting back-to-back Sun Belt Conference West Division Co-Championships in his first two seasons at A-State. His overall record stands at 39-23 (.629).

Ingram became the sixth head coach in ASU Volleyball history in 2009, and his Red Wolves' .667 winning percentage that season was the highest ASU has seen since the 2004 season. He led A-State to a 12-6 (.667) conference record and a 10-1 (.909) record in home matches, also the highest percentage since 2004. Two of Ingram's 2009 Red Wolves garnished post-season conference honors including the SBC Defensive Player of the Year award, and ASU chalked up six SBC Player of the Week accolades that year.

The 2010 season was just as successful for Ingram and the Red Wolves as they went 17-12 (.586) and 11-5 (.687) in SBC action to once again capture a share of the West Division. Two players again collected post-season league awards, including the Defensive Player of the Year honor for the second consecutive year. His squad also collected five SBC Player of the Week awards during the season.

Ingram came to ASU after serving eight years as an assistant coach at Kansas State. During his time at Kansas State, he served as the recruiting coordinator and offensive coordinator for the Wildcats who posted a 171-79 record and made seven NCAA tournament appearances during his time with the program.

Ingram served the previous two years as an assistant coach at the University of Houston. He served as a junior college recruiting coordinator, travel coordinator and assistant director of camps. The Cougars posted a 42-24 record and made back-to-back NCAA tournament appearances and posted consecutive 20-win seasons in 1998 and 1999. The Cougars were the Conference USA National Division Runners-up in 1998 and C-USA National Division Champions in 1999.

During his career, Ingram has helped lead teams to nine NCAA Tournament appearances including a trip to the Sweet Sixteen in 2003. He has coached eight All-America selections, 22 All-Big 12 selections, 55 Academic All-Big 12 players, six All-Conference USA selections, four Big 12 Libero of the Year winners, a Big 12 Player of the Year, a Big 12 Newcomer of the Year and a C-USA Player of the Year.

Ingram earned his bachelor's degree in Community and Regional Planning from Iowa State University in 1995 and a master's degree in City and Regional Planning from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in 1998.

ASSISTANT COACH SHAWN TAYLOR: Shawn Taylor will return for his second season as an assistant coach with the ASU Volleyball program in 2011.

"I feel fortunate to have attracted Shawn to Arkansas State," said Ingram. "He is a very knowledgeable and hard working coach who understands the demands it takes to be successful."

Taylor came to Arkansas State from Independence Community College in Independence, Kan. where he served as the head coach for the 2009 season. Prior to working at ICC, he coached as an assistant at Valparaiso and spent the 2007 season as the head coach at Kansas Wesleyan University. Taylor was a volunteer assistant coach at Kansas State for three seasons and served as the head women's junior varsity and a men's assistant coach at Graceland University from 2002-2004. Taylor also apprentice coached with the U.S. national team in 2007.

Taylor earned his master's degree in college student personnel from Kansas State and his bachelor's degree in liberal studies from Graceland. He played for the Graceland Yellowjackets from 1999-2002.

LOOKING AHEAD TO 2011: Excitement is high entering the 2011 season for the Arkansas State volleyball team. Head Coach Justin Ingram led the Red Wolves to their second straight share of the Sun Belt Conference Western Conference Division championship last season and with just one player lost from last year's team ASU is poised to make another run at the title this season.

Elevean players return from last year's squad that finished 17-11 including senior Cayla Fielder. The former SBC Freshman of the Year finished the 2010 campaign with 332 kills, leaving her just four shy of 1,000 for her career. She was named SBC Player of the Week during the final week of regular season and helped the Red Wolves go 3-0 heading into the Sun Belt Conference tournament.

Sophomore Megan Baska will return as the team's libero after turning one of the most impressive seasons for a libero in ASU history. Baska earned SBC Defensive Player of the Year honors, was named SBC Player of the Week four times and was selected as a Collegiate Volleyball Update Top Performer of the Week and Rising Star of the 2010 freshmen class.

Baska also amassed 564 digs last season, putting her seventh all-time on the ASU single-season career digs list. Her 5.08 digs per set average ranked 37th nationally and she set a season high with 34 digs against Northwestern State.

Engram enters his third season at ASU having collected a 39-23 career record. He will be joined by assistant coach Shawn Taylor, who is entering his second year with the Red Wolves volleyball team. Jessica Hohl will serve as the graduate assistant coach and Dean Torgerson will be a volunteer assistant coach.

ASU will open the 2011 season with three straight tournament appearances. The first will be Aug. 26-27 in Birmingham, Ala., to compete in a tournament hosted by Samford University. The Red Wolves will then travel to Nasvhille, Tenn., Sept. 2-3 to compete in a tournament hosted by Liscomb University. ASU will wrap up its three tournament swing by traveling to Springfield, Mo., to compete the Missouri State tournament Sept. 9-10. In all the Red Wolves will have travled over 1,500 miles in three weekends before returning home to play Southeast Missouri State Sept. 13 in the home opener.

On Sept. 16-17 the Red Wolves will travel to Natchitoches, La., to compete in a tournament at Northwestern State University and will open Sun Belt Conference play Sept. 23 against defending SBC champions Middle Tennessee State. The team will travel to Bowling Green, Ky., on Sept. 24th for a match against Western Kentucky before returning home for its longest home-stand of the year. ASU will host UALR Sept. 27 for an in-state battle and will play South Alabama Spet. 30 in Jonesboro to close out the month.

Troy, Denver and North Texas will travel to the Natural State for matches on Oct. 1, 7 and 8 respectfully before the Red Wolves return to the road for their next three matches. ASU will travel to Little Rock Oct. 14 to play UALR followed by a trip to Florida to play Florida International Oct. 21 and Florida Atlantic Oct. 22.

ASU will return home for its final two home games of the season to host a pair of Louisiana schools. The Red Wolves will host Louisiana-Lafayette on Oct. 28 followed by Louisiana-Monroe on Oct. 29.

The team will be on the road for the remainder of the season. ASU will travel to North Texas Nov. 4 followed by a cross-country trip to Colorado Nov. 6 to play Denver. ASU will conclude regular season play in Louisiana against ULL Nov. 11 followed by ULM Nov. 13.

This year's Sun Belt Conference tournament will be in Miama, Fla., Nov. 17-19.

ASU Volleyball Takes Five-Set Victory over Hofstra: SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (9/9/11) - The Arkansas State volleyball team wrapped up play at the Dr. Mary Jo Wynn Invitational on the campus of Missouri State with a 25-15, 25-21, 14-25, 19-25, 15-11 victory over Hofstra on Saturday.

After winning the first two sets, Hofstra battled back to win the next two to force a fifth-set. In the final set ASU jumped out to an early 10-6 lead behind the play of Ashley Tipps who had three kills in the set. Hofstra closed the gap to 11-9 but ASU scored four of the final six points to take the set and the match.

"We feel fortunate to walk away unscathed," ASU volleyball coach Justin Ingram said. "Although our offensive is lacking consistency, we are high enough and powerful enough to compete with anyone."

In the first set A-State jumped out to a 15-10 lead and quickly pushed the advantage to 20-13 behind the play of Cayla Fielder, who finished with four kills in the set. In the second set Tipps led the charge with five kills to give the Red Wolves a 2-0 edge in the match.

Hofstra bounced back in the third set, earning a 25-14 victory and pulled away late in the fourth set to push the match to a decisive fifth set.

Tipps led ASU with 16 kills, while Taylor Szypulski finished with 11 kills and 12 digs. Megan Baska led the team with 23 digs and Allison Kearney finished with 34 assists and 10 digs. A'Zlynn Thompson added 12 assists on the night.

ASU will host its first home match of the season at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 13 against Southeast Missouri State in the HPESS building.

ASU DROPS ROAD MATCHES AGAINST SOUTH DAKOTA STATE AND MISSOURI STATE: SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (9/8/11) - The Arkansas State volleyball team dropped a pair of matches at the Dr. Mary Jo Wynn Invitational on the campus of Missouri State University on Friday. South Dakota State defeated the Red Wolves 26-28, 25-21, 18-25, 30-28, 15-11 in the day's first match, followed by a 26-28, 25-23, 25-21, 25-22 loss to Missouri State in the nightcap.

ASU trailed Missouri State 17-13 in the first set, but slowly began chipping away at the Lady Bears' lead. Taylor Szypulski closed the gap to 20-19 with a kill, but Missouri State inched ahead once again and held a 24-22 lead to setup two set points scenarios. The Lady Bears failed to convert on both opportunities and the Red Wolves took advantage.

Cayla Fielder gave A-State (4-5) its first lead of the set with a kill and a service ace from Amanda Chaparro gave the Red Wolves a 28-26 comeback victory in the first set.

However, ASU failed to carry the momentum over into the next set. Missouri State built a 19-15 lead and the Red Wolves could not erase the deficit. In the third set, the two battled back-and-forth but the Lady Bears scored five of the set's final six points to take a 2-1 lead in the match.

In the fourth set Missouri State pulled away late in the set again. The two teams were tied at 19-19, but the Lady Bears scored the next four points to take a 23-19 lead. ASU pulled within 23-21, but Missouri State closed out the set by scoring the final two points to earn the four-set victory.

Jasmine Terry led A-State in the match with 12 kills, while Szypulski added 10. Megan Baska and Chaparro paced the team with 14 digs each, while Allison Kearney led with the Red Wolves with 41 assists. She also had 12 digs.

"I think we made errors at the wrong time," ASU volleyball coach Justing Ingram said of the Missouri State match. "However, we had really good stretches of volleyball and probably as good as we have had all year."

Against South Dakota State the Red Wolves dropped a thrilling five-set match to the Lady Jack Rabbits. Late in the first set ASU trailed 23-20 before rallying to tie the score at 23-23. After fending off two set points, the Red Wolves took the lead. An attack error from South Dakota State gave ASU a 27-26 edge and Fielder put the set away with a kill to give the Red Wolves a 28-26 victory.

South Dakota State won the second set 25-21, but ASU bounced back in third set behind a strong performance from Fielder and Baska. Fielder collected six kills in the set, while Baska added 10 digs to give ASU a 2-1 lead in the match.

In the fourth set ASU led 24-23 and was serving for match point, but failed to convert on the opportunity and allowed the Lady Jack Rabbits to tie the score at 24-24. After trading points, ASU fought off a match point opportunity from South Dakota State to tie the score at 28-28, but the Lady Jack Rabbits converted on the set's final two points to come away with the set victory and tie the match at 2-2.

"We are getting very close to becoming a very dangerous team," ASU volleyball coach Justin Ingram said. "We had three match points against South Dakota State and it was disappointing to lose in five. We have to learn how to finish matches and to take advantage of opportunities in front of us."

South Dakota State carried the momentum into the fifth set and quickly built a 12-8 lead. The Red Wolves pulled within 13-10, but the Lady Jack Rabbits pulled away for a 15-11 victory.

Fielder led ASU with 24 kills, while Terry finished with 16. Baska led the team defensively with 36 digs, while Chaparro and Shelby Crncic each finished with 10 digs. Kearney led the team with 46 assists, while A'Zlynn Thompson added 20. Szypulski finished with 13 kills and 15 digs

ASU Volleyball Falls in St. Louis: St. Louis, Mo. (9/5/11) – The Arkansas State volleyball team fell to Saint Louis University 26-24, 25-15, 16-25, 25-16 in a non-conference matchup Monday afternoon.

The Red Wolves (4-3), who came off an undefeated weekend in the Lipscomb Invitational, dropped their first two sets to the Billikens (3-1) and struggled to take advantage of scoring opportunities.

"We had plenty of opportunities today to come away with more set wins and did not take advantage of it," ASU volleyball coach Justin Ingram said. "Saint Louis served aggressive all match and made it difficult for our receivers to maintain consistent rhythm. There is no doubt we will recover quickly and prepare ourselves for this weekend's matches in Springfield."

In the first set ASU led 24-22, but was unable to close out the victory and allowed Saint Louis to score the final four points to earn the first set victory. In set two the Billikens quickly built a 14-6 advantage that the Red Wolves were unable to recover from. Saint Louis won the set 25-15.

A-State found momentum in the middle of the third set and went on a five-point run to gain a 23-15 edge. Cayla Fielder paced the Red Wolves with five kills in the frame, while Amanda Chaparro and Taylor Szypulski were strong defensively, each collecting five digs in the set.

A-State could not carry the momentum over into the fourth set, however. The Billikens jumped out in front early and quickly held a 16-8 lead. ASU pulled within 19-14 but could get no closer.

Fielder led ASU with 12 kills, while Szypulski finished with nine. Allison Kearney had 19 assists and A'Zlynn Thompson added 16 for the Red Wolves. Megan Baska led the squad with 14 digs and Chaparro had 11.

ASU will return to action on Sept. 9-10 at the Dr. Mary Jo Wynne Invitational on the campus of Missouri State in Springfield, Mo. The Red Wolves will play South Dakota State on Friday at 10 a.m. followed by a match 7 p.m. against tournament host Missouri State. On Saturday A-State will play at 5 p.m. against Hofstra.

A-State Volleyball takes Four-Set win over Lipscomb: NASHVILLE, Tenn. (9/3/11) – The Arkansas State volleyball team completed an undefeated weekend at the Lipscomb Invitational with a 25-15, 26-24, 16-25, 25-23 victory over Lipscomb on Saturday.

The perfect weekend marks the first time the Red Wolves have gone undefeated in a tournament since 2009 when they accomplished the feat at both the ASU Invitational and the MSU Bulldog Invitational.

Cayla Fielder earned tournament MVP honors after finishing the tournament with 37 kills, two aces, 10 blocks assists and 12 digs. Jasmine Terry and Allison Kearney were also named to the All-Tournament team. Terry finished the weekend with 31 kills, one ace and six digs while Kearney had 76 assists, 10 aces and 26 digs.

"I am very honored to be tournament MVP and I always try to play hard when I go out on the floor," Fielder said. "Every time I get an award like that I am proud of myself and proud of my teammates because I know I wouldn't be able to win those awards if it wasn't for them."

A-State never trailed in the first set and quickly jumped out to an 18-12 lead. Megan Baska, Amanda Chaparro and A'Zlynn Thompson were strong defensively for the Red Wolves, each collecting four digs in the frame.

In the second set Taylor Szypulski and Terry helped ASU battle back from 24-21 deficit. Terry notched back-to-back kills to close the gap to 24-23 and Szypulski finished off the set with three straight kills to give the Red Wolves a 26-24 win and 2-0 edge in the match.

"When both team start getting past that 20-point stage it is time to push," Terry said. "All weekend when we found ourselves in those situations we pushed through and it was definitely a thrill and exciting to push through sets like the fourth set.

Lipscomb jumped out in front early in the third set and built a lead the Red Wolves could not recover from. ASU pulled within 20-16 but the Lady Bisons scored the set's final five points to secure the win.

In the fourth set ASU trailed 18-14 before rallying to tie the score at 19-19. Led by Fielder, who had three kills in the team's final six points, A-State earned a 25-23 victory to win the set and the match.

Fielder and Szypulski led ASU with 11 kills each in the match, while Chaparro and Terry added 10 each. Kearney added 27 assists and Thompson finished with 16. Baska led the defense with 18 digs, while Chaparro added 14.

Arkansas State will be back in action Monday, Sept. 5 at 2 p.m. against the University of Saint Louis.

Lipscomb Invitational All-Tournament Team

Cayla Fielder, ASU – MVP

Jasmine Terry, ASU

Allison Kearney, ASU

Kate Rose, Lipscomb

Stephanie Rex, Lipscomb

Amanda Videmsek, Charlotte

Kelsey Gray, Tennessee Tech

ASU Volleyball Tops Charlotte, Tennessee Tech: NASHVILLE, Tenn. (9/2/11) - The Arkansas State volleyball picked up a pair of victories over Charlotte and Tennessee Tech at the 2011 Lipscomb Invitational on Friday. The Red Wolves earned a 25-13, 24-26, 25-16, 23-25, 15-10 victory over the 49ERS and then topped the Golden Eagles in a 25-21, 29-27, 25-16 sweep.

Against Charlotte Allison Kearney helped ASU (3-2) build a 20-9 advantage in the first set by collecting six aces on her first 10 serves. In the second set the Red Wolves led 24-19 but failed to secure the win as the 49ERS scored the set's final seven points to earn the come from behind victory.

In the third set the Red Wolves again jumped out to an early lead and took the 25-16 victory and 2-1 advantage in the match. The two squads battled back-and-forth in the fourth set and ASU held a 20-15, but the 49ERS battled back and eventually won 25-23 to force a final set.

In the fifth set A-State quickly took an 11-6 edge behind a strong effort from Ashley Tipps. The sophomore collected four kills in the frame and to help the Red Wolves win the set and the match.

Taylor Szypulski led ASU with 13 kills, while Jasmine Terry (12), Amanda Chaparro (10) and Cayla Fielder (10) all recorded double-digit kill totals. Kearney led the team with six aces and 25 assists, while A'Zlynn Thompson finished with 21 assists. Megan Baska had 15 digs, while Chaparro had 11 digs.

"After a long day of matches, we certainly walked away with earned victories," ASU volleyball coach Justin Ingram said. "Points were given in bunches all day and our service game needed to be sharp and it was. Allison Kearney was tremendous and got our opponents continuously. Cayla, Tipps and Jasmine helped lift our offense and we relied on them to finish the play."

Against Tennessee Tech the Red Wolves battled the Golden Eagles in the first two sets before finding a rhythm in set three. Fielder led the charge in the first set with six kills, while Kearney provided three aces from the service line in a 25-21 victory. In the second set A-State trailed 23-20 a kill from Szupulski and back-to-back kills from Fielder tied the set a 23-23. After trading points to push the score to 27-27, Kearney gave A-State a 28-27 lead with an ace and Fielder put the set away with a kill to give the Red Wolves a 2-0 lead in the match.

ASU jumped to an early led in the third set and carried that momentum through to earn the 3-0 sweep over the Golden Eagles.

Fielder led ASU with 16 kills and finished with a .462 attacking percentage. Kearney finished with 24 kills and four aces, while Thompson added 14 assists. Baska led the team with 17 digs and Chaparro added 12 digs.

"Tomorrow we will face a talented Lipscomb team and need to be more consistent than we were today to earn a win," Ingram said.

ASU will return to the floor on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. against tournament host Lipscomb.

A-State Volleyball Falls to Samford in Five-Sets: The Arkansas State volleyball team lost to Samford in five sets Saturday afternoon to conclude play at the Samford/UAB Invitational.

Samford won the thrilling five set contest 15-25, 25-19, 25-22, 22-25, 15-13 to give the Red Wolves (1-2) their second loss of the season. ASU led 12-8 in the fifth set, but the Lady Bulldogs won seven of the next eight points to earn the victory.

"We need more production out of our pin hitters and setters in order to feel better about our level of play," ASU volleyball coach Justin Ingram said. "Being ahead 12-8 in the 5th set and taking the loss is incredibly difficult to swallow, but we plan on regrouping quickly to get back into our offensive rhythms at practice on Monday."

Arkansas State opened the match strong and jumped to an 18-6 advantage in the first set. Samford (3-0) pulled within 23-15 but the Red Wolves won the final two points including a service from newcomer Amanda Chaparro on set point to earn the victory.

The Lady Bulldogs fought back in sets two and three to take a 2-1 lead, but ASU edged out a 25-22 win in set four to push the match to a decisive fifth set.

Cayla Fielder led Arkansas State with 16 kills and two blocks, while Ashley Tipps added 14 kills. Jasmine Terry finished 13 kills, while Allison Kearney led the team with 30 assists. A'Zlynn Thompson had 16 assists, while Megan Baska led the squad with 25 digs. Taylor Szypulski added 13 digs and Amanda Chaparro had 11 digs.

ASU will return to action Sept. 2-3 in Nashville, Tenn. at the Lipscomb Tournament. The Red Wolves will take on Charlotte and Tennessee Tech on Sept. 2 followed host Lipscomb on Sept. 3.

ASU Volleyball Sweeps Akron, Falls in Five Sets to UAB: The Arkansas State volleyball team opened the 2011 season with a 3-0 (25-23, 25-22, 25-18 ) sweep over Akron before falling to Alabama-Birmingham 3-2 (25-22, 19-25, 28-26, 20-25, 15-12) after the first day of play the Samford/UAB Invitational.

The Red Wolves (1-1) opened the tournament with a victory over Akron behind a solid performance from Cayla Fielder. The senior finished with 12 kills, which put her over 1,000 kills in her career as a Red Wolf. Taylor Szypulski finished with 10 kills and 10 digs, while sophomore libero Megan Baska added 12 digs. Allison Kearney had 22 assists and Jasmine Terry finished with 11 assists. A'Zlynn Thompson added 11 assists in her first match as a Red Wolf.

In set one ASU trailed 17-20 before rallying behind Fielder and Szypulski to tie the set at 22. Syzpulski gave the Red Wolves a 23-22 lead and Shelby Crncic followed with back-to-back kills to give ASU a set point opportunity. A service error gave the Red Wolves the victory and the squad took the momentum into sets two and three to complete the sweep.

In the Red Wolves second match of the day the team fell to UAB despite fighting off five straight match points in the deciding fifth set. UAB led 14-7, but the Red Wolves closed the gap to 14-12 thanks to ball handling errors from the Lady Blazers and back-to-back kills from Szypulski. However, the rally fell short as UAB took the next point to close out the match.

"The first tournament of every season is typically filled with nerves, limited scouting and inconsistencies," ASU volleyball coach Justin Ingram said. "Even though there were glimpses of great moments, we need to steady out tomorrow and play like we do each day at practice. Although Akron and UAB were both talented, Samford has tremendous offensive abilities and will require us to be better for longer stretches in order to win."

Baska led the team with 40 digs during the match and Allison Kearney led the way with 38 assists. Fielder finished with 18 kills, while Szypulski added 13 kills and 10 digs. Ashley Tipps finished with 15 digs and Jasmine Terry collected 10 kills. Crncic finished with 10 digs and two aces and Thompson finished with 18 assists.

Arkansas State returns to action Saturday at 4 p.m. against Samford in the tournament finale.