Mobile, AL (A-State) – The Arkansas State volleyball squad jumped out to a 2-0 lead and was able to defeat South Alabama 3-1 (25-18, 26-24, 17-25, 25-21) to hand the Jaguars their first loss in conference play Sunday afternoon at Jag Gym in Mobile.
A-State (15-9, 8-3 SBC) led 2-1 after three sets and raced out to a 3-0 edge in set four. The Red Wolves led 14-10 after two straight service aces by Kenzie Fields and forced South Alabama (14-6, 9-1 SBC) to use a timeout. A kill by Jessica Uke put A-State on top 20-16, but the Jaguars went on a 4-1 run after a timeout to climb within 21-20. However, Arkansas State won four of the next five points, the last on a kill by Timber Terrell, to win the set 25-21 and match 3-1.
"We didn't want to overlook Troy, but this is the match we were looking forward to," A-State head volleyball coach David Rehr said. "I thought we were better last weekend and we continued to evolve and growing this weekend. It's a great feeling to be able to knock off both division leaders and give them their first losses, but we still feel like we have more room to grow and our best volleyball is still ahead of us."
Carlisa May led the Red Wolves with 19 kills and now has 1,161 for her career to give her the 10th most kills in school history. Terrell tallied 12 kills on a team-best .529 hitting percentage, while Uke added 10 kills on a .471 percentage. Both Terrell and Uke led the team with five blocks each, with all of Uke's coming in set one. Ellie Watkins handed out 48 assists and Fields tied a season high with three aces. Tatum Ticknor led the team with 16 digs.
A-State only out hit the Jaguars .250 to .244, but had five aces while South Alabama had zero. The Red Wolves also out blocked USA 10-7 and had 11 more kills (58-47) than the home team. Kristina Alabastro led the Jags with 12 kills, while Hannah Harris has 10 on a .909 hitting percentage.
The Red Wolves began the match strongly with an 8-3 lead in set one that forced a South Alabama timeout before obtaining an 18-12 advantage on a kill by May to force the Jaguars' second timeout of the set. A-State moved in front 21-12 after two consecutive blocks by Uke and eventually won the set 25-18 after an attack error by USA.
The second set was much more competitive early on with the two teams splitting the first 20 points for a 10-10 tie after a block by Terrell and May. However, a 6-2 run by the home team put South Alabama ahead 16-12 and caused A-State to call a timeout. A-State eventually tied the set at 20-20 on a kill by May, but the Jags were able to earn match point at 24-22. However, the visitors used a 4-0 run to come back and win the set 26-24 for a 2-0 match advantage.
South Alabama began the third set with a 12-7 lead to force a timeout by the Red Wolves and eventually gained a 21-13 advantage late in the set. A-State was able to get within 24-17, but a kill by Alabastro gave the Jaguars a 25-17 set three win.