In its season opener Friday night at First National Bank Arena, Arkansas State volleyball dropped a hard-fought 3-1 decision to Little Rock.
The Red Wolves (0-1, 0-1 Sun Belt Conference) snatched a 25-12 second-set decision to force a fourth set, but the Trojans (1-4, 1-3 SBC) earned key points down the stretch to take the match.
Kendahl Davenport led all players with seven total blocks, which matched her career-best, including a career-high five solo blocks. Madison Brown led A-State offensively with 14 kills and a .314 hitting percentage. She also added a career-high seven digs on the defensive side.
Defensively, Tatum Ticknor tallied 17 digs in her first match since the 2018 season. Paulina Sobolewska added nine kills and 14 digs. Julianna Cramer handed out 29 assists while Lauren Musante added 16 in her A-State debut. Both setters were effective in the service game, serving three aces each – matching their career-bests.
Little Rock got a double-double effort from Laura Jansen, who had 20 kills and 22 digs. Alyssa Nayar dished out 30 assists while libero Leigh Maher collected 24 digs. Nicole Medlin led the Trojans at the net, earning four blocks.
SET 1 – Little Rock 25-22
Little Rock opened up scoring four of the first five points to lead 4-1 before the Red Wolves started chipping away. After the Trojans led 10-7, A-State went on a 7-0 run to lead 14-10. The Trojans then responded with a 7-0 stretch of their own to reclaim the lead at 17-14, a lead that they wouldn’t relinquish, taking the set 25-22.
Brown notched four kills in the set and hit .667 while Cramer handed out eight assists. Ticknor corralled five digs to lead the Red Wolves.
SET 2 – A-State 25-12
A-State took an early 3-0 lead after an ace by Cramer started the set. The Trojans then evened things up at 3-all before the Red Wolves went on a 6-0 run to open up a 9-3 lead and continued to extend that lead to as much as 13 at 20-7. After Little Rock scored three in a row to make it 21-11, A-State held on by taking four of the last five points in the set to even things up at a set apiece.
Brown continued to be an offensive threat, knocking down six more kills to put her in double digits. She also collected five digs in the set. Cramer added nine more assists while Musante served a pair of aces. As a team, A-State hit .500 while holding Little Rock to a .000 attack percentage.
SET 3 – Little Rock 28-26
The third set was back and forth from start to finish, including 11 ties and five lead changes. A-State never trailed by more than four in the set and, when facing a 17-15 deficit, went on a 6-0 run to take a 21-17 lead. The Red Wolves would not surrender the lead until a Jansen kill gave the Trojans a 27-26 lead. A double-touch by the Red Wolves ended the set.
Davenport notched four kills in the set along with a pair of solo blocks. Cramer added nine assists to her total to give her 26 on the night through three.
SET 4 – Little Rock 25-20
The fourth set was also back and forth, with Little Rock holding an early lead before the Red Wolves went on a 10-2 run to lead 15-11 at the media timeout. The Trojans battled back to reclaim a 20-19 lead. After a block by Davenport, Little Rock claimed five straight points to end the match.
Four of Davenport’s seven blocks came in the match’s final set, including three solo, while Musante added five assists.
A-State is set to close out its season-opening series versus Little Rock at 1 p.m. Saturday in First National Bank Arena. The match will be broadcasted live on ESPN+ with Hayden Savage and Cori Keller on the call, while live stats can be viewed at AStateStats.com.
Fans can follow the team on Twitter (@AStateVB) and Instagram (astatevb) along with liking the Arkansas State University Volleyball page on Facebook for the latest news and updates regarding the team.