MATCH 32: Arkansas State (20-11) vs. SIUE (23-6)
Wednesday, Nov. 29 • 3 p.m. CDT
Gillom Athletics Performance Center • Oxford, Miss.
Series: A-State leads 1-0
Live Stats: OleMissSports.com; Live Video: YouTube.com/OleMissSports
This season marks the 43rd year of volleyball at Arkansas State and A-State has an all-time mark of 1,024-518-5 (.664) and became the 18th program in Division I history to eclipse 1,000 victories. The Red Wolves began last season with 979 wins.
A-State will make its first appearance in the postseason since 2015 when it plays SIUE in the 2017 National Invitational Volleyball Championship (NIVC) Wednesday in Oxford, Miss.
The NIVC has made a comeback after being held from 1989-1995. A-State made four appearances in the tournament and this year’s berth gives them five in the NIVC. The Red Wolves are 8-7 in 15 NIVC matches.
Adding A-State’s five NCAA Tournament apperances with its five NCAA appearances give it 10 postseason appearances total, this is the second time in the postseason for A-State under Coach Rehr.
Arkansas State went 1-1 in the SBC Tournament with a win over eight-seeded Troy (3-0) before falling to top seed Coastal Carolina 3-1. Coastal went on to win the tournament to clinch a berth in the NCAA Tournament, while Texas State joins A-State in the NIVC to give the Sun Belt three teams in the postseason.
Carlisa May was named to the All-SBC Tournament squad after posting 36 kills for a 5.14 per set average on a .261 hitting percentage in the two matches.
A-State is currently 20-11 and it gives the team four straight seasons of 20 or more wins.
Drew Jones became the second A-State player this season to record the 1,000th kill of her career when she accomplished the feat on Oct. 20 at Troy. Carlisa May was the other, who did it on Sept. 22.
A-State vs. SIUE Series History
Arkansas State and SIUE have only met once in history with the Red Wolves sweeping the Cougars Sept. 13, 2014 in the Cougar Classic at the Vadalabene Center in Edwardsville, Ill. A-State won 25-16, 25-21, 25-19.
Two current Red Wolves played in that match against the Cougars. Current seniors (then freshmen) Anna Murphy and Drew Jones played in the match. Murphy had two kills and a block, while Jones had seven kills on a .375 hitting percentage with a block. Sarah Kemp led the Red Wolves with 14 kills, while Markie Schaedig had 12 digs and Kelsey Reis had seven blocks, defensively. A-State hit .330 in the match to SIUE’s .122 and out blocked the Cougars 9-3.
SIUE had five current players play in the match against A-State in Taylor Joens, Katie Shashack, Carley Ramich, Emily Harrison, and Ashley Witt. Witt is the only player who played in all three sets and had seven kills, five digs, and two aces. Joens and Ramich each had a kill, while Shashack had four digs and an assist.
The Cougars enter the match with a 23-6 record and were 13-3 in Ohio Valley Conference action to finish second in the league, but were upset by seventh seed, Eastern Illinois, in the OVC Tournament. The Cougars and Red Wolves only shared one common opponent this season in Georgia State. SIUE swept the Panthers in the Scenic City Showdown in Chattanooga, Tenn., on Sept. 9 while A-State swept Georgia State Oct. 27 in First National Bank Arena in Jonesboro.
Arkansas State has played all 12 schools currently in the OVC with SIUE representing the only school A-State hasn’t played multiple times. The Red Wolves are 109-46 all-time against these institutions the bulk of the action coming against SEMO (26-20), UT Martin (25-11), and Murray State (26-3). A-State is 2-5 all-time against Eastern Illinois to represent the only losing record against an opponent from the OVC.
Head coach David Rehr is 6-1 all-time against the Ohio Valley Conference with three wins over UT Martin, two versus Southeast Missouri, and one against SIUE. The lone loss was in 2013 to Belmont. A-State has not played an OVC foe this season with a 3-0 win over UT Martin on Sept. 9, 2016 in Jonesboro marking the last time A-State played a school from the league.
A-State vs. SFA/Ole Miss Series History
If the Red Wolves are able to get past SIUE, the team would play against the winner of Stephen F. Austin and Ole Miss Thursday, Nov. 30 at 6 p.m. in Oxford, Miss. A-State defeated both teams this season in prior matchups.
A-State played Ole Miss in Jonesboro as part of the A-State Invitational Sept. 2 and came away with a 3-1 win over the Rebels to stand 21-36 against them all-time. That win snapped a six-match losing streak to Ole Miss and gave head coach David Rehr his first win over an SEC opponent. It was A-State’s first win over an SEC opponent since the 2009 season.
The Red Wolves hit .259 to Ole Miss’s .230 in the match and A-State had an 8-2 advantage in aces. Carlisa May led the team with 17 kills, while Drew Jones had 11 and Jessica Uke had 10. Ellie Watkins handed out 43 assists and had seven kills, six digs, and two aces. Jones had 13 digs for a double-double, while Tatum Ticknor led the team with 23 digs defensively. Lexi Thompson (15 kills, 13 digs) and Kate Gibson (11 kills, 11 digs) had double-doubles for Ole Miss.
The Red Wolves defeated Stephen F. Austin 3-0 on Sept. 16 as part of the Rice Invitational II to even the all-time series with the Ladyjacks at 6-6. A-State has won two straight against Stephen F. Austin after also winning the 2015 matchup at the Golden Hurricane Classic in Tulsa, Okla. Head coach David Rehr is 2-0 against SFA.
Carlisa May and Drew Jones led the team with 12 kills apiece in the earlier matchup this season with Peyton Uhlenhake adding nine more on a .500 hitting percentage. Kenzie Fields was filling in at setter and handed out 36 assists in the match. A-State hit .312 in the win and held Stephen F. Austin to a .209 percentage and also had seven blocks to SFA’s two. KK Payne led the Ladyjacks with 10 kills, while Makenzee Hanna chipped in with nine.
May Named to All-SBC Tournament Squad
Junior Carlisa May earned her third straight All-SBC Tournament honor of her career after leading the Red Wolves with 36 kills for a 5.14 per set average in A-State’s matches againsst Troy and Coastal Carolina. She had a hitting percentage of .261 and also added four blocks and two digs.
The Lee’s Summit, Mo., native opened the event with 16 kills against Troy before a 20-kill performance against Coastal Carolina, her eighth match of 20 or more kills this season.
The outside hitter was named to the All-SBC Tournament team last season and was the tournament’s MVP in 2015. This was May’s second all-tournament selection this season after she won the honor at the Bluegrass Battle at the beginning of the campaign.
A-State in the NIVC
The National Invitational Volleyball Championship is back after running from 1989-1995. This season’s berth in the event is the fifth all-time for A-State after appearing in the 1989, 1990, 1991, and 1993 versions of the event.
The Red Wolves hold an all-time record of 8-7 in the NIVC. A-State defeated Murray State, but lost to Boise State and Georgia in its first appearance, but reeled off wins against Akron, Northern Iowa, and Georgia in 1990 before being eliminated by Boise State. A-State defeated Drexel and West Virginia in 1991, but lost to Notre Dame and California. The Red Wolves also went 2-2 in the 1993 tournament with wins over Lehigh and Wright State, but losses to Sacramento State and Northern Iowa.
Texas State is also in the NIVC, while CCU is in the NCAA Tournament.
May Wins OPOY, Four Named All-SBC
Junior outside hitter Carlisa May was named the Sun Belt Conference Offensive Player of the Year for the second straight season and was also a First-Team All-SBC honoree. May was second in the league in kills per set at 4.10 and had 430 total kills at the end of the regular season. She’s had eight matches of 20 or more kills this season after posting 20 in the loss to Coastal Carolina in the SBC Tournament semifinals
Senior Drew Jones was also a First-Team All-Conference selection, the first All-SBC honor of her career, and was fifth in the league in kills per set at 3.37 per set (354 total kills). She was also tied for the team lead in aces with 20 and had the third most digs on the team with 254. The Fort Smith, Ark., native led the Red Wolves with 12 double-doubles and was third on the team in blocks with 50 in the regular season.
Junior Ellie Watkins and freshman Tatum Ticknor garnered All-SBC Second-Team accolades. Watkins led the league in assists per set at 11.07, but also missed some time due to injury. She also added 67 kills, 133 digs, and 26 blocks during the regular season. Ticknor served as the team’s libero virtually all season and had 532 digs to her credit for a 5.02 per set average that led the SBC. She was also tied for the team lead in aces with 20 and handed out 88 assists in the regular season.
The four selections for A-State were tied for the second most in the league with Louisiana-Lafayette. Texas State had the most with six.
Arkansas State Hosts the SBC Tournament
A-State is now 31-22 all-time in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament with the 31 wins representing the most among current members of the league with Little Rock the next closest at 28. The 31 wins are the second most all-time in the event with Western Kentucky’s 51 leading the way.
Arkansas State defeated eighth-seeded Troy 3-0 in its first match of the tournament after the Trojans upset No. 5 South Alabama 3-2. Carlisa May led the team with 16 kills, while Drew Jones added 11. Madison Turner and Jessica Uke both had six blocks, with Turner’s being a career high, as A-State had 13 in the match, its second highest total of the season. The Red Wolves hit .204 and held the Trojans to an .082 mark, which was the fifth time this season A-State has held an opponent under .100.
However, A-State couldn’t solve top seed Coastal Carolina. A-State won the first set 25-22, but lost the next three (21-25, 23-25, 20-25) to fall to the Chanticleers. A-State hit .228, but Coastal posted a .296 percentage in the match. Carlisa May led the team with 20 kills, while Drew Jones tallied 19. Jones added 11 digs for her team-high 13th double-double, while Ellie Watkins handed out 51 assists and had 12 digs for a double-double.
The Red Wolves had made it to two straight championship matches in 2015 and 2016, but were eliminated in the semifinals this year. The Red Wolves were the top seed in the tournament the last two seasons before earning the fourth seed this year. A-State won the tournament in 2015 3-2 over Appalachian State to go to the NCAA Tournament, but lost 3-1 to Coastal Carolina last season.
Prior to head coach David Rehr arriving, the Red Wolves were on an 11-year drought (2001-2011) without winning a match in the league tournament due to going 0-1 or not qualifying for the event. However, the team won its first round match in Coach Rehr’s first season in 2012 to end the drought and have won at least one match in all six of his seasons up to this point.
This was the first SBC Tournament for the Red Wolves to host since 1996, which was the last of a six-year stretch that saw A-State host the event. Arkansas State has registered an 18-5 record when hosting the tournament after going 1-1 in 2017 and won four of the tournaments in 1991, 1992, 1994, and 1995 with NCAA Tournament appearances coming in the final three of those.
Red Wolves Defeat Little Rock in Five
Arkansas State won a hard-fought, five-set match over Little Rock Friday, Nov. 10 despite the Trojans having nothing to play for after being eliminated from tournament contention. A-State dropped set one 28-26, but won the next two 25-21 and 25-18 for a 2-1 edge. Little Rock earned a 25-21 fourth set victory before A-State won set five 15-7 by winning the final eight points of the set after it was tied 7-7.
Carlisa May led the team with 22 kills, while Drew Jones posted a season-high 19, surpassing her previous high of 18 that she had done twice, once against Little Rock earlier in the season. Madison Turner chipped in with a career-best 11 kills and also tied a career high in aces (1) and blocks (4).
Drew Jones earned her 12th double-double of the year with 13 digs to add to her kill total, while Ellie Watkins handed out 59 assists (one shy of tying career high) and picked up a career-best 16 digs for her third double-double of the year. Tatum Ticknor tallied 32 digs to fall one shy of tying her career high and had a career-high four service aces, including two during the 8-0 run A-State used to clinch the fifth set.
The Red Wolves had 22 more kills than the Trojans (73-51) and out hit Little Rock .231 to .191. A-State also had 89 digs to the Trojans’ 74 and eight service aces to Little Rock’s five. However, the Trojans did out block A-State 11-7.
The win moved Arkansas State to 56-23 all-time against Little Rock and also gave the team seven straight wins over its in-state rival.
Jones Joins 1,000 Kill Club; May Moves to Ninth
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 384 kills and a 3.43 per set mark. The Forth Smith, Ark., native now has 1,103 kills to her credit.
Carlisa May was the other player to achieve 1,000 career kills earlier this season and now has 1,276 for her career, which gives her the 9th most in school history, passing Susanne Snipes, who had 1,266 from 1997-2000. She is 28 kills from tying Cyndi Rhone, who had 1,304 from 1990-1991. May currently leads the team with 466 kills for a 4.16 per set average this year. Her 4.16 per set average is 30th best in the nation.
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.