Arkansas State volleyball outlasts Little Rock in five sets, go 2-1 in A-State Invitational

Arkansas State came back from down 2-1 to beat Little Rock in 5 sets.
Arkansas State came back from down 2-1 to beat Little Rock in 5 sets.(KAIT-TV)
Published: Aug. 28, 2022 at 12:30 AM CDT
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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - Trailing 2-1 in the match entering the fourth set, the Arkansas State volleyball team relied upon late-match energy and a raucous crowd to oust rival Little Rock in five sets Saturday at First National Bank Arena.

The Red Wolves (2-1) took a 25-23 fourth-set triumph to force a match-deciding fifth frame, in which A-State never trailed and staved off a late comeback attempt by the Trojans (1-2) for its sixth straight win in the series.

A-State Invitational All-Tournament Team honorees Macey Putt (22 kills) and Kyla Wiersema (14 kills, .609 hitting percentage) led the way for the Scarlet and Black on the offensive end. Setter Lauren Musante doled out 28 assists and hit a career milestone along the way, eclipsing the 2,000-career assists mark. Kassidy Reeves started the match, dishing out 16 assists.

Defensively, A-State held the Trojans to just a .116 mark on the attack. Sarah Martinez tallied 16 digs while Bailey Helzer added 13. The Red Wolves also totaled seven blocks as a squad, led by three apiece from Putt and Yazmyn Billings.

SET 1 – A-STATE 25, LITTLE ROCK 18

After a back-and-forth start to the match, A-State rattled off a 7-1 run to take a 15-11 lead at the media timeout following a Billings block. The Red Wolves then took six of the next eight points to up its lead to 21-14 on kills by Putt and Helzer. The Trojans regained serve and cut the deficit to 22-17, but a sideout on a Wiersema kill later ended the frame to give the home squad a 1-0 advantage.

SET 2 – LITTLE ROCK 25, A-STATE 17

The second set began much like the first, with neither team holding serve for very long. A-State took a 12-9 lead on a pair of Trojan miscues on the attack before Little Rock claimed eight of the next 10 points to lead 18-14. A Putt kill halted the 6-0 run, but the Trojans mounted a 6-1 spurt to hold set point on a kill by Laure Jansen. After a service error, the visitors evened the match at a set apiece on a kill by Daria Burrows.

SET 3 – LITTLE ROCK 25, A-STATE 15

Arkansas State responded after the intermission with a 5-0 run following a Sophia Reynolds ace to open the third, forcing an early timeout. The Trojans kept it close before moving ahead 11-9 on a 6-1 run to force an A-State timeout. Little Rock went on to take 14 of the last 20 points in the set to hold a 2-1 lead in the match.

SET 4 – A-STATE 25, LITTLE ROCK 23

The Red Wolves opened the fourth set with a renewed energy, surging to an early 7-2 lead after a block by Putt and Wiersema. A kill by Wiersema pushed A-State’s lead to 10-5 before Little Rock evened the set score at 10-all. A-State retook the lead at 18-14 on a Billings kill, then was first to 20 on a kill by Wiersema.

The Trojans responded to keep the set even, but the Red Wolves forced a fifth set with kills by Wiersema and Putt to take a 25-23 victory in the fourth.

SET 5 – A-STATE 15, LITTLE ROCK 9

That momentum carried over in to the fifth set, as three straight thunderous Putt kills ignited the Scarlet and Black to open the set. After the Trojans trimmed the deficit back down to two, A-State rattled off four straight points to lead 10-4 and force a Little Rock timeout.

Two more kills by Wiersema stretched the lead out to 13-6 before Putt gave her squad a match-point situation up 14-7. Little Rock responded with two more points to keep the match going before Putt ended things with her 22nd kill of the afternoon.

NOTABLES

  • Lauren Musante handed out 28 assists and surpassed the 2,000-career assists mark.
  • Arkansas State won its sixth straight match against in-state foe Little Rock and improved to 65-25 in the all-time series. A-State has emerged victorious in the rivalry in 16 of the last 18 meetings.

NEXT UP

The Red Wolves return to action next weekend to open a span of three consecutive road tournaments, traveling to Martin, Tenn., for the Skyhawk Invitational Friday and Saturday. There, A-State will face Western Illinois, Alabama A&M and host UT Martin.

SOCIAL MEDIA

Fans can follow the team on Twitter (@AStateVB) and Instagram (astatevb) along with liking the Arkansas State Red Wolves Volleyball page on Facebook for the latest news and updates regarding the team.