HOUSTON, Texas (9/15/17) – The Arkansas State volleyball team was able to take the first set from Rice and force a fifth set later on, but couldn’t overcome the Owls in a 3-2 (25-22, 18-25, 18-25, 25-19, 11-15) setback at the Rice adidas Invitational II Friday night at Tudor Fieldhouse in Houston, Texas.
The Red Wolves (6-6) raced out to a 15-9 advantage in set one to force a Rice (8-4) timeout and kept the six-point edge on a Carlisa May kill to make the score 21-15. The Owls didn’t go quietly and battled back to within 24-22, but a kill by Jessica Uke quelled the threat and clinched a 25-22 set one win for Arkansas State.
However, Rice responded by jumping out to a 13-10 edge in set two to force a timeout by the visitors. A-State couldn’t recover after the stoppage and the Owls went on to win set two 25-18. Set three was a battle early with both teams tied 14-14, but a 6-2 run by the home team created some separation and A-State couldn’t recover as Rice won the game 25-18.
Arkansas State rebounded with a fast start in set four by obtaining a 14-4 advantage on a kill by Uke. Rice responded with a 6-0 run of its own to get within 14-10, but A-State was able to create some more distance with another Uke kill making the score 21-14 late in the frame. The Owls clawed their way back to within 23-19, but a block by Kenzie Fields and kill by Uke sealed a 25-19 set win for the Red Wolves.
Rice went ahead 4-2 in the fifth and decisive set and A-State would get within one point on several occasions, the last at 7-6, but couldn’t get over the hump. An attack error put Rice in front 11-7 and the Red Wolves used a timeout. Arkansas State got within 13-10 on a kill by Drew Jones, but Rice won two of the last three points, capped by a kill from Grace Morgan, to win the set 15-11 and the match 3-2.
“Right now we go as our defense goes,” A-State head volleyball coach David Rehr said. “In this match, our defense wasn’t very good to say the least. Our offense did fine and Kenzie was great filling in at setter, but our defense was not up to par. We were pretty good in set one, then weren’t sharp the next two sets. We talked about it and set four went fairly well and set five is always up for grabs and unfortunately we couldn’t finish it off with a win against a talented Rice squad.”
May led the Red Wolves with 19 kills, while Jones (14) and Uke (13) were also in double-digits. Fields set a career high with 52 assists and picked up another double-double with a career-high 18 digs. Jones also had her team-best sixth double-double with 11 digs to go along with her kill total. Defensively, Tatum Ticknor tied a career high with 27 digs, while Timber Terrell tallied four blocks.
Nicole Lennon led Rice with 20 kills, while Morgan added 12. The Owls out hit A-State .230 to .180 and had 12 blocks to the Red Wolves’ seven with Morgan accounting for nine on her own.
Arkansas State returns to action Saturday for its final match in the Rice adidas Invitational II against Stephen F. Austin. First serve from Tudor Fieldhouse is set for 12:30 p.m.
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