MATCH 27: Arkansas State (17-9, 10-3) at Texas State (18-8, 9-2)
Friday, Nov. 3 • 6:30 p.m. CDT
Strahan Coliseum • San Marcos, Texas
Series: A-State leads 8-7
Live Stats: AStateStats.com; Live Video: www.txstatebobcats.com ($)
MATCH 28: Arkansas State (17-9, 10-3) at UT Arlington (11-13, 5-6)
Saturday, Nov. 4 • 6:30 p.m. CDT
College Park Center • Arlington, Texas
Series: A-State trails 8-9
Live Stats: AStateStats.com; Live Video: www.UTAMavs.com ($)
This season marks the 43rd year of volleyball at Arkansas State and A-State has an all-time mark of 1,021-516-5 (.664) and became the 18th program in Division I history to earn 1,000 victories on Nov. 4, 2016. The Red Wolves began last season with 979 wins.
A-State improved to 17-9 overall and 10-3 in league play with a pair of home sweeps over Georgia State and Georgia Southern Oct. 27 and Oct. 28. A-State held the Panthers to an .063 attacking percentage, the second lowest the team has held an opponent to, and followed by hitting a season-best .464 against the Eagles. The .464 hitting percentage was the highest since the 2011 season.
Carlisa May won her second straight and fourth SBC Offensive Player of the Week award of the season after averaging 5.00 kills per set, while Ellie Watkins was named the Setter of the Week.
Drew Jones became the second A-State player this season to register her 1,000th career kill with her 11th kill in the match against Troy Oct. 20 joining Carlisa May who joined it on Sept. 22.
A-State vs. Texas State Series History
Arkansas State leads the all-time series with Texas State by a count of 8-7 with the first meeting between the two schools occurring in 1981 at the Southwestern AIAW Regional Tournament in Nacogdoches, Texas. Texas State, then referred to as Southwest Texas State, claimed a 2-0 win over the Red Wolves.
However, the Red Wolves reeled off six straight victories in the series, four of which came as non-conference opponents before the 2013 season, to account for six of their eight wins. Texas State snapped the streak with a 3-0 win in the 2013 SBC Tournament in Troy, Ala., despite dropping both regular-season contests to the Red Wolves.
The Bobcats were able to extend their winning streak over the Red Wolves to four matches by claiming all three matches in 2014. Texas State won the conference opener in Jonesboro 3-0 before winning two 3-1 decisions in San Marcos, the last being in the SBC Tournament semifinals to mark the second straight year the Bobcats ended A-State’s season.
A-State defeated Texas State in the teams’ lone meeting in 2015, but the Bobcats won last season’s first meeting in San Marcos 3-1 to snap A-State’s 20-match SBC win streak. However, A-State was able to bounce back to sweep Texas State Nov. 5 on the Red Wolves’ Senior Night.
Texas State swept Arkansas State in the earlier meeting this season in Jonesboro on Oct. 7. It was the Red Wolves’ first time to be swept at home in a league match since Nov. 22, 2014 when UALR did it. The Bobcats hit .242 in the match and held A-State to a .154 percentage with Amy Pflughaupt leading the match with 19 kills. Drew Jones led the Red Wolves with 13 kills and Carlisa May added 11, while Tatum Ticknor led the squad with 16 digs.
Texas State enters the weekend with an 18-8 record and 9-2 Sun Belt Conference record to rank second in the West Division. The Bobcats lost to South Alabama to open league play, but reeled off nine straight wins before losing in five sets at Louisiana-Lafayette Oct. 28. The Ragin’ Cajuns are 10-2 and currently lead the West Division.
A-State vs. UT Arlington Series History
The Red Wolves trail the all-time series with UT Arlington 8-9. The two teams met as Southland Conference foes six times from 1982 to 1986 with A-State dropping all six matches versus the Mavericks.
The two teams didn’t play again until the 2001 season when Arkansas State claimed its first victory in the series, a 3-2 victory at the Texas-Arlington Classic in the second match of that season. The Mavericks and Red Wolves also played one other time in nonconference action, with that meeting occurring in the 2009 season. UTA won that match 3-2 at the UT Arlington Hilton Invitational.
A-State and UT Arlington have played nine times since the Mavericks joined the Sun Belt Conference in 2013 with all the matchups coming with David Rehr as head coach. The Red Wolves own a 7-2 record over that span. The teams split the two meetings in each of the first two seasons with the road team winning in 2013 before each team protected its home floor in 2014. A-State won the lone meeting in 2015 and went 3-0 against UTA last season by winning the two regular-season meetings and sweeping the Mavericks on Nov. 19 in Arlington in the SBC Tournament semifinals. A-State has won five straight over UTA after defeating the Mavericks on Oct. 6.
A-State swept UT Arlington at First National Bank Arena earlier this year and hit .274 and held the Mavs to a .137 mark. Drew Jones led the team with 13 kills and had 10 digs for a double-double, while Carlisa May registered 10 kills. Defensively, Tatum Ticknor had 12 digs and Timber Terrell led the squad with four blocks. Zhanelle Geathers and Qiana Canete had 15 kills and 14 kills, respectively, to lead the Mavs.
UTA enters the weekend in fourth place in the West Division with a 5-6 mark in league play and is 11-13 overall on the season under first-year head coach J.T. Wenger. The Mavericks are coming off a 3-0 loss to Louisiana-Lafayette Oct. 26 and a 3-0 win over ULM Oct. 28.
Red Wolves Sweep Away Georgia Schools
Arkansas State ran its win streak to seven matches, all over conference foes, and improved to 17-9 on the year and 10-3 in SBC play with a pair of sweeps over Georgia State Oct. 27 and Georgia Southern Oct. 28 at First National Bank Arena in Jonesboro.
The Red Wolves used aces and defense to carry themselves to a 3-0 win over Georgia State. A-State had nine service aces, tied for the second most this season and the most versus a league opponent, and held the Panthers to an .063 hitting percentage, the second lowest by an Arkansas State foe this season. A-State hit .295 and was led by 13 kills from Drew Jones with Carlisa May contributing nine. Tatum Ticknor and Kenzie Fields both had 10 digs to lead the team while Timber Terrell recorded four blocks, three of which were solo blocks. Ticknor and Lindsay Cline led the serving attack with three apiece, career highs for both.
The Red Wolves are now 10-0 all-time against Georgia State with the last four wins being sweeps.
The Red Wolves used a bit of a different strategy against Georgia Southern as the team hit an astounding .464 in the match, while holding the Eagles to a .205 mark. The .464 represents the highest any team has hit in the David Rehr era and it’s the highest mark since Sept. 16, 2011 when A-State hit .654 against Alcorn State. Carlisa May led the attack with 21 kills on a season-best .562 hitting percentage, while Ellie Watkins was a perfect 7-for-7 on attacks. Watkins also dished out 40 assists to help the team achieve the .464 attacking percentage. Tatum Ticknor led the team with 13 digs and also had two of the squad’s five aces.
A-State is now 7-1 all-time against the Eagles with the last four wins all being sweeps.
May, Watkins Take Home SBC Weekly Awards
Junior outside hitter Carlisa May won her second consecutive SBC Offensive Player of the Week award and fourth of the season, while junior Ellie Watkins claimed SBC Setter of the Week honors for the second time this season after the other came in week one.
A native of Lee’s Summit, Mo., May posted 30 kills for a 5.00 per set average on a .400 hitting percentage in the wins over Georgia State and Georgia Southern. She tallied nine kills over the Panthers, but notched 21 against the Eagles, her sixth 20+ kill match of the season, on a season-best .562 hit percentage. This award was May’s seventh career SBC Offensive Player of the Week award and her 14th career weekly award overall after winning seven SBC Freshman of the Week accolades in 2015.
Additionally, May has been nominated by HERO Sports for its Division I Volleyball Player of the Week for the second straight time. She was the leading vote getter last week to earn the award and is currently in second place at this moment.
A native of Weldon Spring, Mo., Watkins earned the league’s Setter of the Week honor after handing out 69 assists for an 11.50 per set mark in the sweeps over Georgia State and Georgia Southern. She dished out 29 helpers versus the Panthers and followed with 40 in the match with the Eagles. She helped the team to a season-best .464 hitting percentage against Georgia Southern and also had seven kills on seven attempts in the match. Overall, she had 10 kills, 10 digs, and two blocks in the two matches.
The Red Wolves have won at least one of the Sun Belt weekly awards in seven of 10 weeks this season and have had at least one weekly award winner 27 times out of 34 chances since the beginning of the 2015 season. Over that time span, Arkansas State players have claimed 45 separate individual weekly honors.
A-State Sweeps Troy, Hands USA First SBC Loss
Arkansas State extended its win streak to five matches with a sweep of Troy and 3-1 victory against South Alabama Oct. 20 and Oct. 22. A-State out hit the Trojans .302-.157 and had six aces, while Troy had zero in the win Oct. 20. Carlisa May led the team by tying a season-high with 24 kills, her fifth match of 20 or more kills this season and the ninth of her career. Drew Jones was second on the team with 15 kills and registered the 1,000th kill of her career with her 11th kill of the match against Troy. Ellie Watkins handed out 42 assists and Tatum Ticknor tied a career high with two aces. Arkansas State is now 16-1 all-time against Troy.
The Red Wolves then made the trip to Mobile, Ala., to face South Alabama and defeated the Jaguars 3-1. The loss was the first SBC loss for USA as their league record went to 9-1. This was the second straight Sunday the Red Wolves have knocked off an undefeated team in conference play after handing Louisiana its first league loss on Oct. 15 by a score of 3-1 in Jonesboro.
Carlisa May led the team with 19 kills against the Jags, while Timber Terrell registered 12 kills on a .529 hitting percentage and Jessica Uke added 10 on a .471 percentage. Ellie Watkins handed out 48 assists in the win, while Tatum Ticknor picked up 16 digs. Terrell and Uke both led the team with five blocks with all of Uke’s coming in the first set. Four of her blocks were block solos. The win for the Red Wolves increased their winning streak to six matches over the Jaguars and to 30-5 all-time against South Alabama.
Jones Joins 1,000 Kill Club; May Enters Top 10
Senior Drew Jones became the second player this year to eclipse 1,000 career kills at Arkansas State with her 11th kill of the match at Troy Oct. 20. Jones is second on the team with 294 kills and a 3.38 per set mark. The Forth Smith, Ark., native now has 1,035 kills to her credit.
Carlisa May was the other player to achieve 1,000 career kills earlier this season and now has 1,191 for her career, which gives her the 10th most in school history, passing Pip Soulsby, who had 1,144 for her career from 2002-05. She’s 75 away from Susanne Snipes, who had 1,266 from 1997-2000.
May Named SBC Offensive Player of the Week
Junior outside hitter Carlisa May was named the Sun Belt Conference Offensive Player of the Week for week nine after totaling 43 kills for a 6.14 per set average on a .287 hitting percentage in A-State’s wins over Troy and South Alabama.
The Lee’s Summit, Mo., native tied a season high with 24 kills in the sweep of the Trojans on a .364 hitting percentage before adding 19 more in the 3-1 victory over South Alabama on a .209 hitting percentage.
This is May’s third SBC Offensive Player of the Week award this season and the sixth of her career. Additionally, it’s her 13th career weekly award after winning seven Freshman of the Week awards in 2015.
Additionally, May was named the Division I Volleyball HERO of the Week by HERO Sports after she won the fan vote.
Watkins, Ticknor Top SBC Leaderboard
Setter Ellie Watkins leads the Sun Belt Conference with an 11.25 assists per set average and is one of only two setters in the SBC averaging double-digit assists in the league. She had a season-high 60 on Sept. 30 at Louisiana.
Freshman libero Tatum Ticknor is first in the Sun Belt Conference in digs per set with a 4.98 per set average. The digs per set mark ranks as 40th best in the country.
Ticknor, a Grapevine, Texas native, has posted double-digit digs in all but three matches, including the season opener when she only played two sets. She has 10 matches of 20+ digs and set her new career high with 33 on Sept. 30 at Louisiana-Lafayette.
Carlisa May ranks second in the league in kills per set with a 4.10 mark, while Drew Jones is fifth at 3.40. May’s 4.10 per set mark ranks as the 33rd best in the nation, while her total kills (381) is 26th most.
Red Wolves Non-Conference Notes
A-State went 7-6 this year in non-conference action with wins against the AAC (2x), Big East, SEC, Southland, SWAC, and Missouri Valley. The losses came to the PAC-12, SEC, ACC, Conference USA, Southland, and AAC.
Arkansas State has recorded winning records in non-conference play in five of Coach Rehr’s six seasons at the helm. In the last 10 seasons, only 2013 saw A-State post a losing record in non-conference action at 5-10.
Head coach David Rehr earned his first win over an SEC school in 10 tries when A-State defeated Ole Miss Sept. 2.
The Red Wolves are now 43-34 in nonconference action under head coach David Rehr.