JONESBORO, AR (ASU) – The Arkansas State volleyball team defeated Little Rock 3-1 (25-23, 22-25, 25-18, 25-23) Wednesday night at the Convocation Center for its 17th straight victory in front of a crowd of 838, the largest attendance at an A-State volleyball match since 1996.
The Red Wolves (21-1, 12-0 SBC) held a 2-1 advantage in the match going into the fourth set and raced out to a 14-7 lead on a Kariana Castanon-Hill block to force a Little Rock (10-12, 6-6 SBC) timeout. However, the Trojans pulled within 20-17 to force an Arkansas State timeout and eventually tied the set at 23-23 before two consecutive kills by Drew Jones clinched the set for A-State 25-23 and the match 3-1.
“Little Rock is a good team and they didn’t go down quietly,” A-State head volleyball coach David Rehr said. “Even when we had them down, they fought back and didn’t give up. The crowd was lively and it’s getting better and better every match. When the crowd gets with us, it becomes easier.”
Carlisa May led the team with 18 kills on the night, while Jones had a double-double with 12 kills and 16 digs, her fifth of the season. Darby Graff was tops on the team with a .474 hitting percentage, and Mallory Warrington tallied her team-best 13th double-double of the year with 48 assists and 17 digs. Markie Schaedig led the defense with 28 digs, while Castanon-Hill registered a team-best six blocks, including three block solos.
“This was a big win, I really wanted this one,” Schaedig said. “Little Rock came out with a lot of energy so we definitely had to fight. We are a lot more confident in ourselves and we just work so hard every single day.”
The Red Wolves and Trojans were locked in a tight battle in the first set with A-State taking an 11-9 edge on a May kill. Both teams battled to a 16-16 tie before a 3-0 A-State run, capped by a Jones kill, put the home team ahead 19-16. Little Rock rallied to tie the set 23-23, but a Graff kill and attack error by the Trojans gave the Red Wolves a 25-23 first set victory.
Little Rock responded with a strong second set by jumping out to a 15-9 edge to force a Red Wolves timeout. A-State battled back to within 20-18 and was only down 24-22 before a kill by Little Rock’s Edina Selimovic gave the Trojans a 25-22 set victory to even the match at 1-1.
The two teams fought to a 10-10 tie in the third set, but a 5-1 run by the Red Wolves gave the home team a 15-11 advantage. A 7-2 run, finished with a kill by May, extended the A-State advantage to 22-13. The Trojans pulled within 24-18 later in the set, but a Warrington kill clinched the set for the home team 25-18 and gave the Red Wolves a 2-1 lead in the match.
Arkansas State returns to action Friday, Oct. 30 against Georgia Southern. First serve from the Convocation Center is set for 6 p.m. Fans can follow the team on Twitter (@stAteVolleyball) and Instagram (astatevolleyball). Live stats will be available on AStateStats.com and in-game updates on Twitter (@AStateGameDay).