LEXINGTON, Ky. (8/26/17) – The Arkansas State volleyball team battled the first two sets, but couldn’t get over the hump in a 3-0 (24-26, 23-25, 20-25) setback to No. 23 Utah in both teams’ final match of the Bluegrass Battle at Memorial Coliseum in Lexington, Ky.
The first set began as a back-and-forth affair with the Utes (2-1) taking a 13-12 advantage before a 4-0 run, finished with a kill by Carlisa May, put A-State (1-2) on top 16-13. However, Utah rallied and led late 24-22 before kills from Drew Jones and May knotted things up 24-24. The Utes used a timeout and were able to earn the final two points for a 26-24 game one victory.
The Red Wolves opened set two with an 11-9 advantage after a block by Peyton Uhlenhake and May, but a 9-2 run by Utah set the score at 18-13 to force a timeout by Arkansas State. However, A-State battled back with a 9-3 rally to claim a 22-21 edge on an ace by Ellie Watkins. The lead was short-lived as Utah won four of the next five points to win the set 25-23.
A-State ran out to a 10-7 lead in set three before Utah came back to tie the set at 16-16. The Utes then went on a 5-1 run to create some separation at 21-17 before the Red Wolves battled back to within two at 22-20 on a kill by Watkins. However, the Utes rattled off three straight kills to thwart any idea of an A-State comeback and clinch a 25-20 set three win for the sweep.
“I was proud of the effort today against a really talented team in Utah,” A-State head volleyball coach David Rehr said. “We played pretty well for most of the match, but we just couldn’t finish, especially in those first two sets. That said, if we play the way we did today, we will be ok against most other teams. We’re ready to get back to work, keep improving, and see what happens Tuesday.”
May led the Red Wolves with 15 kills, while Jones added eight of her own. Watkins dished out 30 assists, had seven kills on a .636 attacking percentage, and also had a team-best two service aces. Tatum Ticknor led the defense with 16 digs, while May and Jessica Uke led the team with three blocks. Utah was led by Adora Anae’s 12 kills and hit .346 to A-State’s .273 for the match.
Arkansas State travels to Carbondale, Ill., for a nonconference match against Southern Illinois Tuesday night. First serve from SIU Arena is set for 7 p.m.
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