Arlington, TX (A-State) – Carlisa May registered 19 kills on a .533 hitting percentage as the Arkansas State volleyball team cruised into the Sun Belt Conference Tournament finals with a 3-0 (25-16, 25-17, 25-14) sweep of the host team No. 4 UT Arlington Saturday night at College Park Center in Arlington.
The Red Wolves (25-7) will face the second-seeded Coastal Carolina Chanticleers Sunday at 1 p.m. in the SBC Tournament Championship with the winner earning the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. It is A-State’s second consecutive appearance in the conference tournament championship match.
May’s 19 kills were the most in a three-set match this season for A-State, but the sophomore outside hitter was far from the only contributor for the Red Wolves. Markie Schaedig posted 23 digs, tying for the most in a three-set match this season, and also had two of the team’s five service aces. Lindsay Cline was second on the team with 14 digs and also had two aces, while Mallory Warrington handed out 42 assists and finished one dig shy of a double-double with nine.
Kelsey Reis and Shelby Holmes were second on the squad with seven kills apiece, while Holmes hit .417 as the Red Wolves hit .291 to a .070 mark for UT Arlington (17-16). Reis led the team with three blocks, while A-State had four total blocks on the night to just one for the Mavericks.
“You just have to trust your kids that got us this far in the season and just let them play,” A-State head volleyball coach David Rehr said. “We didn’t really like the matchup with either UTA or Little Rock because they are two good volleyball teams, but we were able to break down UT Arlington last night. I loved how we prepared and loved how we came out today so I’m happy with the sweep. We haven’t played Coastal Carolia since opening weekend so it’ll be interesting because you’re almost playing an opponent you haven’t played before because we are both different teams now in a lot of ways.”
A-State ran out to a 3-0 edge in set one, including two kills by May, and kept the pressure on by going in front 18-10 on a Schaedig service ace to force a timeout by UT Arlington. The Red Wolves scored three of the next five points to go ahead 21-12 and force UTA to use its second timeout and both teams scored four points each the rest of the set with a kill by Warrington clinching the 25-16 set one win for Arkansas State.
The Mavericks began set two strongly by jumping out to a 12-7 advantage before A-State used a 5-1 run to get within 13-12 and force a timeout by the host team. The Red Wolves then went on another 5-1 run, capped by a kill from Jessica Uke, to take a 17-14 advantage. UTA used its second timeout, but couldn’t slow down A-State as the top seed closed the set on an 8-3 run, finished with two kills by Reis, to win 25-17 and take a 2-0 edge to intermission.
Arkansas State didn’t waste any time by racing out to an 11-3 advantage on a block by Reis and Holmes in set three. A kill by Holmes pushed A-State’s lead to 19-8 and forced a timeout by UTA. However, the Mavericks could never get within 10 points the rest of the set and the Red Wolves won 25-14 to complete the sweep off an attack error by UT Arlington.
Tomorrow’s championship between the Red Wolves and second-seeded Coastal Carolina will be broadcast on ESPN3 at 1 p.m. Live stats will be available at AStateStats.com. The Chanticleers defeated No. 3 Texas State 3-1 to advance to the championship.