Conway, SC (A-State) – The Arkansas State volleyball team fell behind 2-1 to Coastal Carolina, but rallied to register a 3-2 (25-12, 21-25, 20-25, 27-25, 15-9) come-from-behind win over the Chanticleers Sunday afternoon at the HTC Center in Conway, S.C.
The meeting between the Red Wolves (10-6, 2-0 SBC) and Coastal Carolina (10-4, 1-1 SBC) was the first one all-time and proved to be a classic as A-State was able to run its Sun Belt Conference win streak to 18 matches.
Arkansas State trailed 2-1 entering set four and jumped out to a 4-1 edge before a 9-2 run by the Chanticleers put the visitors behind 10-6. The Red Wolves battled back to tie the set 13-13 and the game eventually wound up tied 19-19 before two straight points by Coastal made the score 21-19. CCU earned match point twice at 24-23 and 25-24 before two bad sets by Coastal Carolina, sandwiched around a Carlisa May kill, gave A-State three straight points and a 27-25 set win.
The decisive fifth set began with the Red Wolves jumping out to a 6-3 advantage on a kill by Kelsey Reis that forced CCU to call a timeout. A-State kept the pressure on by extending the lead to 11-6 on a kill by May, which saw the Chanticleers use their final timeout of the set. Coastal Carolina got within 13-9 on a block, but consecutive kills by Jessica Uke and Brentlee Weaver clinched a 15-9 win for the Red Wolves to finish the team’s 3-2 comeback win.
“We fought really hard today,” A-State head volleyball coach David Rehr said. “I’m very proud of the effort we showed throughout the match. We came out and made them uncomfortable in set one, but they were more like themselves the rest of the match and showed why they were the Big South Conference champions a season ago. They are a very athletic team and very talented, but we were up to the challenge.”
May led the team with 16 kills, while Kenzie Fields secured her third double-double of the season with 14 kills on a career-high .279 hitting percentage and 13 digs. Uke added 10 kills on a .500 attacking mark with a team-high three blocks, while Reis came off the bench to add six kills on a .750 hitting percentage along with two blocks. Mallory Warrington handed out 54 assists to pace the A-State offense, while Markie Schaedig led the defense with a season-high 36 digs.
“It was a total team effort today for us,” continued Rehr. “Kenzie had a great match though and really helped out the offense and defense. I also have to point out Kelsey coming off the bench for us and having a really couple of sets after struggling some early in the year. Markie had a great match and Mallory keeps doing a fantastic job leading our offense. We’re ready to come home and play some home conference matches next weekend.”
A-State dominated set one by racing out to a 13-4 advantage on a kill by Fields that forced the Chanticleers to use their second timeout of the set. The visiting team stretched their lead out to 18-5 and didn’t look back as Fields ended the set on a kill to set the final score for game one at 25-12.
However, the next two sets were a different story with Coastal running out to a 9-2 edge in set two. A-State would rally to tie the set 11-11 and force a timeout by the home team. The two teams traded points all the way to 21-21 before a 4-0 run, capped by a service ace from Shelby Ladewig, gave the Chanticleers a 25-21 win.
Set three was close throughout, but A-State appeared to take control late with a 19-16 edge. Coastal Carolina did not back down though and ended the set on a 9-1 run to earn a 25-20 set win and set the A-State deficit at 2-1 before the Red Wolves mounted their comeback.
Arkansas State returns to the Convocation Center Sept. 30 and Oct. 1 for its first home league matches of the season against ULM and Louisiana-Lafayette. First serve for both matches is scheduled for 6 p.m.