Defensive dominance moves Red Wolves volleyball to 5th straight win
Dominant defense led the Arkansas State volleyball team to its fifth consecutive win on Saturday, as the Red Wolves downed Missouri State 3-1 to conclude the Bear Invitational.
A-State (10-2) limited the Bears (6-6) to a .092 hitting percentage while knocking down 13 blocks and amassing 89 digs in the win. Offensive, the Scarlet and Black recorded a .234 clip on the attack.
Setter Erin Madigan finished two blocks away from a triple-double, notching 44 assists, 18 digs and a match-high eight blocks. Kaitlin Whitlock registered 17 kills and 13 digs with a .231 attack percentage, while Bailey Helzer added 16 kills and 19 digs with a .244 clip.
Defensively, Sarah Martinez corralled 27 digs to accompany seven assists, while Yazmyn Billings matched her career high with seven blocks. Brianna Hollingshed knocked down six, with Tegan Seyring accounting for two to go along with nine kills.
Whitlock finished the weekend with 53 total kills (4.42/set) and 39 digs (3.25/set) with a .257 attack percentage to finish as the tournament MVP. Martinez totaled 64 digs (5.33/set) to earn all-tournament laurels, joining Erin Madigan, who handed out 132 assists (11.00/set) with 11 blocks (0.92/set).
In the opening set, A-State surged out to an early 7-3 lead, but the Bears cut it to one on one of Breanah Rives’ match-best 19 kills. After the Red Wolves extended their lead to 16-9 with a 6-0 run, MSU went on a 10-2 run to knot up the frame at 18-all. The sides traded leads until the hosts went on a 3-0 run to take the set 25-23 and lead 1-0 in the match.
A-State opened the second set with an 8-2 run, as a Whitlock kill forced an early timeout. The Bears pulled within two in the set, but could not fend off the Red Wolves’ attack – which registered a .341 hitting percentage in the set en route to tying the match at a set apiece.
The Red Wolves never trailed in the third set on their way to owning a 2-1 lead in the contest, ending the set on a 7-0 run. A-State hit .484 as a team in the frame, while Missouri State held a .143 clip.
In the fourth set, Missouri State held a 15-13 edge at the media timeout and extended its lead to 18-15 moments later. A-State closed strong, however, taking 10 of the final 12 points and clinching the match on a kill by Whitlock.
Arkansas State concludes its road swing next weekend, beginning Sun Belt Conference play at Georgia Southern. First serve is slated for 5 p.m. CT Friday and Noon CT Saturday in Statesboro, with both matches broadcasted live on ESPN+.
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.
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