JONESBORO, AR (ASU) – The Arkansas State volleyball squad improved to 3-0 in SBC play for the first time under head coach David Rehr as the team defeated UT Arlington 3-1 (25-19, 25-17, 23-25, 25-15) in the Red Wolves home opener Friday night at the Convocation Center in Jonesboro.
A-State (12-1, 3-0 SBC) raced out to a 10-7 lead in the first set, but the Mavericks (11-4, 2-1 SBC) came back to tie the set at 16-16. However, the Red Wolves responded with a 7-2 run, capped by a Drew Jones service ace, to take a 23-18 edge that forced a UT Arlington timeout. Jones registered another service ace out of the timeout before a UTA kill made the score 24-19, but a Carlisa May kill on the next point gave the home team a 25-19 set victory and 1-0 match lead.
The Red Wolves came out of the gate strong in the second set with a 4-0 lead after a Kelsey Reis kill that caused UTA to use its first timeout of the set. The Mavericks battled back as close as 7-6 early in the game, but were never able to tie or take the lead as Arkansas State pulled away for a 25-17 victory and 2-0 match advantage. However, UT Arlington fought back from a 14-10 deficit in set three to take a 19-18 lead on a block and eventually won a close set 25-23 to make the score 2-1.
The fourth set was tied 4-4 early, but a 7-0 A-State run, capped by a Mavericks' attack error, made the score 11-4. UTA battled back to 11-8 with a 4-0 run of its own, but never got any closer in the set as the Red Wolves opened a 17-11 advantage that forced the visitors to use a timeout. The break in the action didn't slow A-State down as the home team stretched its lead to 24-14 on a Brentlee Weaver service ace. UT Arlington won the next point, but a kill by Mallory Warrington clinched a 25-15 set victory and 3-1 match win for the Red Wolves.
"You know playing against UT Arlington to open home conference play wasn't the easiest task," Rehr said. "They are a quality team with a quality coach and two really strong players to go along with a good floor leader. We just need a total team effort and we're not one person. We need to clean some things up because we let game three slip away, but we'll take the win."
Jones led the team with 15 kills and also had 10 digs to earn her third double-double of the season. Jones was also the team's leader in service aces with 4, while Weaver added the team's only other ace. Reis was second on the squad with 14 kills on a team-best .375 hitting percentage to go along with a team-high three blocks. Warrington handed out 44 assists to pace the offense and Markie Schaedig led the Red Wolves with 23 digs. May registered double-digit kills (10) for the 11th time this season.
"I think it was pretty awesome how many people came out to support us," said Reis. "The fans helped a lot and I hope they continue to come out. Besides set three, I felt like we did pretty well. Coach Rehr always stresses for each player to 'do your job' and I think everyone focused and did their job."