After dropping a tough 3-1 decision in its home opener Friday night, the Arkansas State volleyball team battle back to take down in-state rival Little Rock by a 3-1 mark of its own.
The Red Wolves (1-1, 1-1 SBC) avenged Friday’s loss to the Trojans (1-5, 1-4 SBC) with a tremendous offensive performance by Josie Stanford, who led all players with a career-high 28 kills, the most by an A-State player since Carlisa May recorded 29 on Nov. 17, 2018 versus Appalachian State. The junior from Payson, Illinois, also recorded a pair of block assists to total 29 points in the match. That was also the most by a Red Wolf since May’s performance, when she tallied 31.5 points.
“Yesterday was our first match, and Little Rock had already played five and were hungry for a win,” head coach Santiago Restrepo said. “We didn’t know yet what to expect from each other (in a real match situation) so we were kind of feeling out everything. Today, we were super competitive but lost the first set, but we were playing our game how we were supposed to. We finally buckled down and played really well in crunch time. I was really proud of them for battling back (after being down 1-0) and winning the next three.”
Lauren Musante led the A-State offense with 33 assists and 12 digs. Julianna Cramer just missed a double-double, handing out 16 assists and collecting nine digs. Defensively, Tatum Ticknor led the Red Wolves with 21 digs, while Paulina Sobolewska added 20 to go along with seven kills and a pair of aces. Kendahl Davenport was again a force at the net, recording six blocks. She ended the weekend with 13 total blocks in two matches.
As a team, the Red Wolves held the Trojans to a .188 hitting percentage while also out-blocking Little Rock 10.0-6.0. The Trojans were led by Laura Jansen, who earned 20 kills and 24 digs. Alyssa Nayar and Nathalia Vigineski led the team in assists with 22 apiece while Leigh Maher served three aces.
SET 1 – Little Rock 25-23
The two sides exchanged leads for the first 15 points of the match, before the Red Wolves went on a 7-2 run to lead 13-7. The Trojans then scored eight of the next 10 to tie things up at 15-all and force an A-State timeout after a kill by Jansen. After Little Rock went ahead 23-21, A-State called a timeout and immediately took the next two points to tie it up at 23. The Trojans then took the set with kills by Jansen and Nicole Medlin.
A-State got five kills from Stanford, who hit .400 in the set, while Brianna Hollingshed tallied a pair of blocks. Ticknor collected a team-high seven digs, while Lauren Musante handed out five assists.
SET 2 – A-State 25-23
A-State took an early 4-2 lead in the second set, and both sides traded leads until the Red Wolves went on a 5-0 run to lead 12-8 that included three straight kills by Stanford. The Trojans battled back to even it at 16-all, but the Red Wolves went on a 4-0 run with the held of two Sobolewska aces to lead 20-16. After Little Rock scored two to lead 22-21, the Red Wolves bounced back with two of their own to lead 23-22 and force a Trojans timeout. A Jansen kill tied up the set at 23, but a kill by Davenport and an emphatic block by Davenport and Stanford ended the set in favor of the Red Wolves.
Stanford added nine kills in the set to improve her career high, while Davenport added three and two more blocks. Musante handed out 11 assists, with Ticknor picking up five digs. As a team, the Red Wolves held the Trojans to just a .105 hitting percentage in the set.
SET 3 – A-State 25-19
The third set continued to be back and forth, with multiple lead changes and ties. After the Trojans led 9-7, the Red Wolves went on a 7-1 run to take a 13-10 lead and force a Little Rock timeout. Little Rock continued to claw back and eventually tied things up at 19, but a 3-0 run by the Red Wolves forced a timeout following a kill by Davenport with A-State up 22-19. That run continued, with Stanford ending the set with her 21st kill of the afternoon to give the Red Wolves a 2-1 lead in the contest.
Stanford added seven more kills to her total, while Ticknor added eight kills on the defensive side.
SET 4 – A-State 25-22
The Red Wolves opened with an early 4-1 lead and would continue to hold that, leading by as much as six at 15-9. The Trojans then took four of the next five points to cut the deficit down to three at 16-13. The Trojans continued their run to take a 17-16 lead and force an A-State timeout. Out of the break, the Red Wolves took two straight to lead 18-17. Down the stretch, A-State was able to get key kills from Brown, Davenport and Stanford to keep Little Rock from reclaiming the lead. After an attack error by the Red Wolves evened up the set at 22-all, Brown and Stanford notched kills as part of a match-ending 3-0 run.
Stanford added seven more kills to end the match to lead A-State, while Brown tallied six in the set. Sobolewska recorded four digs to give her 20 for the afternoon.
With the win, A-State earned its 60th overall win over Little Rock, improving to 60-25 in the all-time series.
A-State continues its five-match home stand at 5 p.m. Thurday, Oct. 8, hosting ULM in First National Bank Arena. The match will be broadcasted live on ESPN+, 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.