Red Wolves volleyball wins twice Friday, improves to 9-2
Kaitlin Whitlock combined for 36 kills across two matches to help the Arkansas State volleyball team to a pair of 3-1 victories over Western Illinois and Lindenwood on Friday at the Bear Invitational.
The Red Wolves (9-2) hit .258 as a team across the two contests, holding its foes to a .126 clip defensively. Whitlock registered a pair of double-doubles, while Sarah Martinez led the way on defense with 37 digs.
MATCH 1 | ARKANSAS STATE 3 – WESTERN ILLINOIS 1 | 25-17, 23-25, 25-18, 25-13
Kaitlin Whitlock stuffed the stat sheets in the opening match, recording a career-high 22 kills on 41 swings en route to a scalding .366 hitting percentage. The freshman added 15 digs, two service aces and a block to her stat line to help Arkansas State to a 3-1 win over Western Illinois (2-7).
The Red Wolves hit .250 as a squad, aided by Bailey Helzer’s .529 clip on 9 kills and 17 error-free attacks. Helzer added 14 digs, while Erin Madigan handed out 45 assists with 14 digs and a pair of blocks.
Sarah Martinez led defensively with 17 digs to go along with two aces, and Mia Maloney led the way behind the service line with three aces.
A-State did not trail in the opening set, surging to an early 8-2 lead before a block by Madigan and Yazmyn Billings led to a WIU timeout. The Red Wolves’ lead ballooned to as much as 10 after a Whitlock kill made it 24-14. A Leatherneck service error clinched the set, giving the Scarlet and Black a 25-17 win in the first frame.
WIU pulled even in the second set, edging A-State 25-23 despite Whitlock knocking down 10 of her 22 kills in the set. The teams traded leads seven times with a dozen ties, with the Leathernecks overcoming a 23-21 deficit to take the final four points in the set.
The Red Wolves stifled the Leathernecks’ offense in the third set, holding them to a .105 clip and taking the set 25-18. After WIU tied it at 14, A-State took seven of the next eight points to create distance and clinched the set on a kill by Helzer to lead 2-1 in the contest.
A-State continued its momentum into the fourth set, never trailing en route to sealing the match with a 25-13 decision in the frame. Whitlock and Helzer led the way with five kills apiece and helped the Red Wolves hit .346 in the set.
MATCH 2 | ARKANSAS STATE 3 – LINDENWOOD 1 | 19-25, 25-19, 25-16, 25-20
Arkansas State dropped the opening set in its second match of the day against Lindenwood, but battled back for the reverse sweep over the Lions (4-7) to extend its winning streak to four.
Whitlock led four players with 10 or more kills for the Red Wolves (9-2), tallying 14 kills to go along with 11 digs. Tegan Seyring hit .333 with 13 kills, with Bailey Helzer and Brianna Hollingshed accounting for 11 and 10, respectively.
Sarah Martinez led in digs with 20, helping A-State hold Lindenwood to a .139 clip. Yazmyn Billings paced all players at the net with five blocks, including two solos.
The Red Wolves took an early 9-4 lead in the first set after an ace by Martinez, but the Lions clawed back to lead 19-16. Lindenwood went on to take six of the final nine points in the set to win 25-19 and lead 1-0 in the match.
A-State battled back in the second set and did not trail on the way to tying up the match at a set apiece, as Whitlock tallied six of her 14 kills. The Red Wolves hit .400 in the set offensively and led by as much as six in the stanza.
Lindenwood took the opening point of the third set, but the momentum was short-lived as A-State took control and limited the Lions to a .000 percentage. A kill by Seyring late in the set put the Scarlet and Black ahead 23-13 before Lindenwood answered with a 3-0 run. After a timeout the Red Wolves clinched the set with a kill by Seyring and an attack error.
Arkansas State’s momentum carried over into the fourth set, as the team led by as much as six early. The Lions rallied to tie at 17-all, but could not overcome the red-hot Red Wolves, who claimed six of the last seven points in the match, clinching the victory on a Helzer ace.
A-State concludes non-conference play Saturday, taking on tournament host Missouri State. First serve against the Bears is slated for 1 p.m., with the match being broadcast 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.
Copyright 2023 KAIT. All rights reserved.