ARLINGTON, Texas (11/18/16) – The top-seeded Arkansas State volleyball team swept No. 8 Georgia State 3-0 (25-20, 25-17, 25-11) to open the 2016 Sun Belt Conference Tournament Friday at College Park Center in Arlington, Texas as head coach David Rehr earned his 500th career win.
The win for Coach Rehr represents his 107th at Arkansas State with the other 393 wins coming at the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) level. The Red Wolves (24-7) have now won four straight matches in the conference tournament and have advanced to the semifinals of the event for five straight seasons, all under Rehr's leadership.
A-State was led by Carlisa May's 10 kills, while Kenzie Fields posted nine kills, a team-high 12 digs, and a team-high three service aces. Mallory Warrington handed out 32 assists, while Kelsey Reis had five blocks. The Red Wolves hit .221 and held the Panthers (10-18) to a .041 mark, the lowest Arkansas State has allowed this season. The team also had seven aces compared to one for Georgia State and eight blocks to just five for the Panthers.
"I didn't think we played particularly well in the first two sets, but we picked it up in the third," Rehr said. "You have to give a lot of credit to Georgia State, they were really loose, really, really loose playing in the match and I think that helped them get through. I challenged them in the third set to not look back and we just went on to a run and started playing Arkansas State volleyball after that. Hopefully we can kind of start with that tomorrow."
A-State ran out to a 9-4 edge in set one on a block by Reis to force a timeout by Georgia State and extended the lead to 13-5 on a kill by May that saw the Panthers use their final timeout of the set. The Red Wolves went in front 17-9, but a 9-4 run by Georgia State put the Panthers down 21-18 and forced an A-State timeout. However, Arkansas State closed the set on a 4-2 run to take a 1-0 lead with a 25-20 set win.
Georgia State responded by jumping out to a 4-1 lead early in set two, but A-State came back to take an 11-8 advantage on an ace by Fields that forced the Panthers to take a timeout. The set remained fairly close with Georgia State getting within three points at 18-15, but the Red Wolves used a 7-2 run to earn a 25-17 set two victory.
Arkansas State jumped in front 6-2 in set three on a block by Jessica Uke and May, but the Panthers battled back to make the deficit 9-7. However, A-State went on a 9-0 run, capped by a kill from Fields, to take an 18-7 advantage and control of the set. Georgia State recorded a kill to make the score 21-11, but a 4-0 run, capped by a block by Shelby Holmes, put the final score at 25-11 and clinched a 3-0 sweep for the Red Wolves.