LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (11/10/17) – The Arkansas State volleyball team used an 8-0 run to end the fifth and decisive set in a 3-2 (26-28, 25-21, 25-18, 21-25, 15-7) victory over in-state foe Little Rock Friday night in the team’s final match of the regular season at the Jack Stephens Center in Little Rock.
The fifth set was tied 7-7 after an ace by the Trojans (9-19, 5-11 SBC), but a kill by Peyton Uhlenhake put A-State (19-10, 12-4 SBC) on top 8-7 and the Red Wolves didn’t look back. A couple of attack errors by Little Rock set the score at 10-7 and caused the home team to use a timeout. However, it didn’t slow Arkansas State down as the team scored the final five points, the last on a block by Uhlenhake and Madison Turner, to win the set 15-7 and match 3-2.
“Nothing ever comes easy against Little Rock, especially at their place,” A-State head volleyball coach David Rehr said. “There was some good and some bad tonight for us, but I’m really proud of how we finished set five to win the match. However, we allowed them to come back in set one and didn’t play very well at times. You have to give them some credit too because they played really hard and competed.”
Carlisa May led the Red Wolves with 22 kills, her seventh match of more than 20 kills this season, while Drew Jones posted her 12th double-double of the year with a season-best 19 kills on a .368 hitting percentage along with 13 digs. Turner turned in a career-best 11 kills on a .385 attacking percentage and also tied for the team high in blocks with four along with Jones. Ellie Watkins finished with a double-double with 59 assists and 16 digs, while Tatum Ticknor was one dig shy of tying her career high with 32 and set a new career high with four service aces.
The first set looked to be in A-State’s favor at 19-11 on a kill by May, but Little Rock battled back to tie the set at 25-25 after a 14-6 run. The Trojans then won three of the next four points, the last on an ace that hit the top of the net and fell in, to take the set 28-26. A-State was down 13-12 in set two before a 7-2 run, capped by a kill from Kenzie Fields, put the Red Wolves in front 20-14. Little Rock fought back within 24-21, but a kill by May clinched a 25-21 set win for the visitors.
A-State jumped out to a 14-9 lead in set three on an ace by Fields and extended the edge to 18-11 to force a Little Rock timeout. The stoppage didn’t slow A-State’s momentum as a kill by May sealed a 25-18 win for the Red Wolves. Little Rock held a slight 18-17 advantage in set four before a 4-0 run by the visitors gave A-State a 21-18 edge. However, the Trojans ended game four on a 7-0 run, capped by a kill from Marina Avram, to win the set 25-21 and send the match to set five.
Maritza Mesa and Avram led the Trojans with 14 kills apiece, while Sydnee Martin had 20 digs. Little Rock out blocked A-State 11-7, but A-State hit .231, compared to a .194 percentage for the Trojans. The Red Wolves also had eight service aces to Little Rock’s five.
Arkansas State waits to find out its seed in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament with other teams in the league wrapping up the regular season Saturday and Sunday. A-State will be the third or fourth seed in the event and will earn a bye into the quarterfinals.
The 2017 Sun Belt Conference Volleyball Tournament is set to begin Thursday, Nov. 16 and will run through Sunday, Nov. 19. Due to being the third or fourth seed, the Red Wolves’ next match will be Friday, Nov. 17. A full bracket will be released once all matches are completed Sunday.