JONESBORO, Ark. (9/13/19) – A valiant comeback effort came up short Friday night, as Arkansas State dropped a tough 3-1 decision to unbeaten Rice in A-State’s second match of the A-State Invitational.
The Red Wolves (5-3) battled back from down two sets to extend the match with a third-set triumph, but the Owls (9-0), who received votes in this week’s AVCA coaches poll, claimed a 25-18 decision in the fourth to remain undefeated on the year.
Timber Terrell led the Red Wolves’ attack with 15 kills and just two errors on a .481 attack percentage. The redshirt sophomore also earned three blocks, which tied Josie Stanford for the team lead. Malgorzata Andersohn earned another double-double in reserve action, tallying 19 assists and 13 digs. Julianna Cramer led the two A-State setters with 23 assists on the night, while Hannah Cox gathered 19 digs.
Also on the offensive end, Macey Putt earned 13 kills to accompany 11 digs for a double-double effort. Collectively, the Red Wolves hit .220 against Rice.
Rice was led by a double-double effort by Nicole Lennon, who tallied a match-high 26 kills to go along with 14 digs. Adria Martinez dished out 27 assists, while Carly Graham also notched a double-double with 16 assists to 11 digs. Defensively, Lee Ann Cunningham collected a match-high 24 digs, while Grace Morgan tallied six blocks.
Set 1 – Rice, 25-18
The first set alone saw 15 ties, the last of which occurring when Peyton Uhlenhake tallied one of her five kills of the night that shifted service back to the Red Wolves at 17-all. However, the Owls countered with a 7-0 run to serve for the set. A kill by Macey Putt returned serve back to A-State, but Lennon ended the set with one of her six kills in the opening stanza.
Four of Uhlenhake’s five kills came in the first set, while Putt and Terrell tallied three for the Red Wolves.
Set 2 – Rice, 25-23
Another back-and-forth set entertained the fans in the second set, as A-State mounted to as much as a five-point lead at 18-13 after a kill by Madison Brown. The Owls clawed back to eventually knot up the set at 23-all as part of a set-ending 5-0 run that Lennon ended, handing Rice a 2-0 lead.
Terrell notched five kills in the set to lead A-State, while Brown earned three. Cramer (6) and Andersohn (5) combined for 11 assists to help the Red Wolves’ attack.
Set 3 – A-State, 25-20
The gritty Red Wolves would not be denied, bouncing back to claim a tight third set and extend the match against the reigning Conference USA champions. A-State once again held tough against the high-powered Owls, keeping even throughout the first 16 points of the set before breaking away for good on a Rice miscue followed by a kill by Terrell that kept the momentum going.
From there, there Red Wolves capitalized on a 4-0 run paced by a solo block and kill by Josie Stanford to hold a 17-11 lead and ultimately moving to just two points away from cutting the deficit to 2-1. After a service error, the Red Wolves weathered a brief comeback by the Owls to take two of the last three points, capped off by a kill by Cramer to end the set and extend the match.
Paulina Sobolewska, who entered early in the set, rattled off five of her eight total kills to match Putt for the set high.
Set 4 – Rice 25-18
A-State rode the momentum into the fourth set, taking an early 3-1 lead, which it would hold for 21 of the next 24 points before Rice knotted up the set at 15-all on a kill by Tabitha Brown. From there, the Owls took 10 of the last 13 points to extend the lead and eventually claim the set and match with a 25-18 fourth-set decision.
Sobolewska and Putt both earned three kills in the set, while Terrell led A-State with four.
The Red Wolves close out their three-match home stand Saturday afternoon, taking on in-state foe Arkansas-Pine Bluff (0-9) at 1:30 p.m. to conclude the A-State Invitational. The Golden Lions dropped a pair of 3-0 matches to Rice and Stephen F. Austin earlier Friday.
Fans can follow the team on Twitter (@AStateVB) and Instagram (astatevb) along with liking the Arkansas State University Volleyball page on Facebook for the latest news and updates regarding the team.