ASU volleyball beats Nebraska-Omaha, falls to Tulsa

JONESBORO, Ark. ( – The Arkansas State volleyball team defeated Nebraska-Omaha 25-18, 25-22, 20-25, 25-15 before falling to Tulsa 25-15, 26-24, 27-25 after the first day of play at the Kansas Volleyball Invitational on Friday.

In the day's first match against Nebraska-Omaha, the Red Wolves (3-3) relied on a strong presence at the net to pick up the 4-set victory. ASU had a season-high nine team blocks, while Ashley Tipps, Allison Kearney and Kelsie Hodges had three block assists each.

Kearney also aided the A-State attacking game by collecting 37 assists, while junior Kelsey Sullivan added 11 kills. Tipps added 10 kills and a .333 hitting percentage, while Megan Baska paced the team with a season-high 21 digs.

"We looked confident and that's what I liked about us the most," ASU volleyball coach David Rehr said. "We came in with a little bit of an edge and we don't look like we are a work in progress anymore. We still have some moments where we are learning and we put a couple of more people in the match, but as long we keep working in that direction we will be fine."

ASU never trailed in the first set and cruised to a 25-18 victory behind the play of Sullivan, who had five kills in the set. The team traded points in the second set, which included 11 ties and five lead changes, before ASU was able to pull away. Hodges setup a set point opportunity with a kill and Greenwood, Ark., native Haley Townsend put the set away with a service ace to give the Red Wolves a 2-0 advantage heading into the break.

Nebraska-Omaha bounced back with a 25-20 victory in the third set, but ASU closed out the match with strong showing in the fourth set. The Red Wolves were 12-15 on side out opportunities, while Baska had eight digs to help the Red Wolves close out the match with a 25-15 victory in the set.

In the match against Tulsa, ASU pushed Tulsa to extra-points in two sets, but failed to come away with a victory in either set.

In the second set ASU trailed 18-14, but rallied to tie the score at 20-20 behind strong play from Terry and Sullivan. Sullivan gave the Red Wolves a 21-20 lead, before Tulsa pulled ahead and had a set point opportunity at 24-23. Taylor Szypulski tied the score at 24-24 with a kill, but Tulsa responded with back-to-back kills to take the set 26-24.

In the third set ASU jumped out to a 13-8 lead, but failed to hold onto the lead. Tulsa rallied in the later stages of the set, including fighting off two set opportunities from the Red Wolves, to pick up a 27-25 victory and 3-0 match victory.

Terry and Szypulski paced A-State with nine kills each, while Kearney led the team with 28 assists and 12 digs. Townsend added 10 assists, while Sullivan finished the match with seven kills.

ASU will conclude at the tournament with two matches on Saturday. The Red Wolves will face off against Sam Houston State at 9 a.m., before playing tournament host Kansas at 2 p.m.