EDWARDSVILLE, IL (ASU) – The Arkansas State volleyball team didn't lose a set in the SIUE Invitational after defeating Southern Utah 3-0 (25-20, 25-20, 25-20) Saturday afternoon before taking down the SIUE Cougars 3-0 (25-16, 25-21, 25-19) in the nightcap at the Vadalabene Center in Edwardsville, Ill.
Southern Utah (6-3) controlled the beginning of the first set by jumping out to an 11-8 advantage before A-State (5-4) fought back to tie the set at 15-15. SUU took a lead at 20-19, but Kariana Castanon-Hill recorded a kill to tie things up at 20-20. A-State wouldn't look back after that and went on a 5-0 run, featuring two kills by Drew Jones, to earn a 25-20 set win and 1-0 match lead over the Thunderbirds.
With a 1-0 lead in the match, A-State raced out to a 10-7 edge in the second set after a Mallory Warrington kill to force Southern Utah to use a timeout. After the timeout, SUU used a 3-0 run to tie the set up at 10-10, but A-State stretched its lead back out to four points at 22-18 after another Warrington kill. SUU couldn't get closer than four points the rest of the set and a service error from the Thunderbirds gave the Red Wolves another 25-20 set victory for a 2-0 advantage in the match.
Arkansas State jumped out to an early 10-7 lead in the third set, but the Thunderbirds fought back to tie the set at 13-13 with a 6-3 run. Southern Utah eventually took the lead on a kill at 17-16, but A-State battled back to take a 19-18 edge on a Sarah Kemp kill. Southern Utah got as close as 21-20, but a 4-0 run by the Red Wolves, capped by two kills from Jones gave Arkansas State its third 25-20 set victory and a 3-0 sweep over SUU.
Kemp led the Red Wolves with 15 kills against the Thunderbirds on a .405 hitting percentage and also had 11 digs to record her fourth double-double of the season. Warrington registered her seventh double-double of the season with 29 assists and 11 digs, while also adding seven kills on a .700 attacking percentage. Defensively, Markie Schaedig led the team with 21 digs, while Kelsey Reis tallied three blocks.
“We're finally coming together and getting to where we need to be,” A-State volleyball coach David Rehr said. “It was certainly nice to come out and get three sweeps this weekend. That being said we realize that conference play starts Friday and none of this really matters now.”
In the nightcap, A-State was relentless in the first set against SIU-Edwardsville (5-5) by jumping out to a 4-0 lead on the Cougars. The Red Wolves stretch their lead out to 12-6 and forced SIUE to use its first timeout of the set, but things didn't get much better for the Cougars. Arkansas State managed to extend its lead to 10 points at 23-13 before SIUE tried to claw its way back into the set with a 3-0 run. However, A-State quelled the threat of a Cougars' comeback with consecutive kills from Kemp to earn the victory in the first set by a count of 25-16 and take a 1-0 match lead.
SIUE started the second set strong with a 4-0 run to begin the game, but the Red Wolves responded to tie the set at 10-10. The Cougars and Red Wolves traded points until A-State took a slight two-point edge at 22-20 on a Jones kill. SIUE won the next point on a kill, but a service error, block by Castanon-Hill and Reis, and attack error gave A-State the final three points of the set and clinched the 25-21 second set victory for a 2-0 match lead.
The Red Wolves continued their hot play in the third set by jumping out to a 6-2 lead after a Jones and Reis block. SIUE cut the A-State lead to two at 11-9, but a 3-0 run stretched Arkansas State's advantage to five points at 14-9. The Cougars cut the A-State lead down to three points at 20-17, the Red Wolves responded with a 5-2 run, capped by a Castanon-Hill kill, to earn the third set victory 25-19 and match win 3-0.
Once again, Kemp paced the Red Wolves with 14 kills on a .344 hitting percentage, while Castanon-Hill tallied nine kills on a .471 hitting percentage. Warrington handed out 32 assists in the match and registered seven digs. Defensively, Schaedig led A-State with 12 digs and Reis recorded seven blocks.