LITTLE ROCK, AR (astateredwolves.com) – The Arkansas State volleyball squad came back from a 2-1 deficit and outscored Little Rock 51-20 after trailing 20-12 in the third set to win its 12th straight match and earn a hard-fought, emotional 3-2 win over the Trojans at the Jack Stephens Center in Little Rock, Ark., Wednesday night.
The Red Wolves (16-1, 7-0 SBC) trailed the Trojans (7-9, 3-3 SBC) 20-12 in the third set before fighting back to take a 23-22 lead late in the set. However, Little Rock won the next three points to take the set 25-23 and earn a 2-1 lead in the match. A-State raced out to a 10-6 advantage in set four and led 20-9 after a Drew Jones service ace. The Red Wolves closed the set on a 5-2 run, capped by a Jones kill, to win the game 25-11 and force a decisive fifth set.
Arkansas State jumped out to a 3-0 lead in set five on three consecutive Carlisa May kills to force Little Rock to use a timeout. The Red Wolves didn't slow down as they extended the lead to 11-2 after an attack error to force Little Rock to use its final timeout of the set. Jones registered kills on three of the next four points to make the score 14-3 and, after a Trojans' point, a Darby Graff kill closed the set at 15-4 in favor of the Red Wolves and gave A-State a 3-2 match victory.
"We needed to play with emotion tonight and wasn't about X's and O's tonight," A-State head volleyball coach David Rehr said. "We needed to play with more guts and I thought we did. I'm proud of how our team responded. Everybody on our team, including the bench, was committed to winning."
May led the team with a career-high 26 kills, while Graff and Jones each tallied 17 kills. Jones added a career-high 17 digs to pick up her fourth double-double of the season. Mallory Warrington handed out 57 assists and had a career-high 22 digs to record her 11th double-double of the season. Markie Schaedig picked up 22 digs to tie Warrington for the team-high, while Hannah Robey added 13 of her own. Jones led the team with four aces and Kariana Castanon-Hill led the team with five blocks. Kelsey Reis led the team with a .615 hitting percentage with nine kills.
The first set between the two teams was a tight one as both teams were tied 10-10 through the first 20 points. May gave A-State a 17-16 edge with a kill, but Little Rock went on a 7-0 run for a 23-17 lead. The Red Wolves won the next two points, but the Trojans were able to secure a 25-19 victory in set one.
Arkansas State wasted little time responding in set two with four straight points to open the set and force Little Rock to use a timeout. A May kill stretched the lead to 10-4 for the visitors, but the Trojans cut their deficit to four at 12-8 later in the set. However, the Red Wolves responded with a 5-0 run to take a 17-8 advantage and didn't let Little Rock get within six the rest of the set as the Red Wolves clinched a 25-18 set victory on a Graff kill to tie the match 1-1.