This season marks the 43rd year of volleyball at Arkansas State and A-State has an all-time mark of 1,005-509-5 (.663) and became the 18th program in Division I history to eclipse 1,000 victories. The Red Wolves began last season with 979 wins.
The Red Wolves opened the 2017 season on the road at the Bluegrass Battle hosted by Kentucky. A-State went 1-2 with a 3-1 win over Cincinnati and losses to No. 14 Kentucky and No. 23 Utah. The Red Wolves only played one ranked opponent a season ago.
Carlisa May was named to the Bluegrass Battle All-Tournament Team after accumulating 45 kills with a 4.50 kills per set mark. The fantastic weekend also earned her the Sun Belt Conference Offensive Player of the Week.
Setter Ellie Watkins also earned a SBC weekly award by being named the Setter of the Week after handing out 111 assists for a 11.10 per set average at the Bluegrass Battle.
The Red Wolves fell to 27-16 all-time in season openers with the 3-0 loss to Kentucky with Coach Rehr falling to 2-4 in his tenure.
The win over Cincinnati gave A-State the victory in the first ever meeting between the two school and David Rehr improved to 5-2 against teams from the American Athletic Conference.
The loss to Utah was the first under Coach Rehr to a PAC 12 squad.
The Red Wolves placed a league-high three players on the Sun Belt Preseason All-Conference Team with Carlisa May, Kenzie Fields, and Jessica Uke earning the accolades.
Arkansas State was picked to win the SBC’s West Division and received 11 of the 12 first-place votes.
A-State vs. Southern Illinois Series History
Arkansas State holds a 9-3 advantage over SIU all-time and has won nine of the last 10 meetings.
The first meeting in the series occurred in A-State’s second season of volleyball in 1976 with the Salukis winning that meeting. SIU also won the second contest during the 1978 season by a score of 2-0.
Since losing the first two meetings, the Red Wolves have dominated the series with Southern Illinois by winning nine of 10. A-State’s first win in the series occurred in 1989 in Carbondale by a score of 3-2.
The Salukis’ last win in the series came back in 2008 by a score of 3-1 in the SIU Tournament.
A-State head coach David Rehr is 1-0 against Southern Illinois all-time with a 3-0 (25-22, 25-23, 25-19) sweep of the Salukis at the Golden Hurricane Classic in Tulsa, Okla., on Sept. 11, 2015. A-State only hit .165 in that match, but held SIU to a .110 percentage. Drew Jones and Carlisa May both had 11 kills to lead the Red Wolves. Mallory Warrington had 31 assists, Markie Schaedig registered 12 digs, and Darby Graff totaled three blocks to lead the squad in those categories.
Arkansas State has an all-time record of 26-13 against the Missouri Valley Conference with the 12 matches against SIU representing the most against one opponent. A-State has played Evansville seven times and Missouri State six times. Head coach David Rehr is 4-1 against the Valley in his tenure.
A-State Competes Well at Bluegrass Battle
The Red Wolves went 1-2 at the Bluegrass Battle, hosted by Kentucky Aug. 25-26 with a win over Cincinnati and losses to No. 14 Kentucky and No. 23 Utah.
A-State defeated Cincinnati 3-1 by scores of 25-19, 26-28, 25-21, 25-14. The Bearcats were a NCAA Tournament at-large selection last season. The team lost its other six sets to Kentucky and Utah, but three of the six were by just two points (25-23 first set to UK, 26-24 first set vs. Utah, and 25-23 second set vs. Utah).
Arkansas State fell to 0-3 all-time against Kentucky and 0-2 all-time against Utah. The win over Cincinnati was the first ever meeting between the two teams.
May Takes Home All-Tournament; SBC Honors
A-State’s Carlisa May was named to the All-Tournament team at the Bluegrass Battle after tallying 45 kills for a 4.50 per set average that leads the Sun Belt Conference. The Lee’s Summit, Mo., native also added 22 digs, six blocks, two assists, and one ace. The All-Tournament accolade was the sixth of her career.
Additionally, the junior outside hitter garnered SBC Offensive Player of the Week honors for her effort. It’s the 11th weekly award in her career and fourth OPOW award.
May had 50 digs a season ago and is almost halfway to total. The service ace was also the first of her career.
She had 21 kills in the match versus Cincinnati for a season-high. A-State only had three matches of 20+ kills a season ago with May accounting for two of them.
Watkins Named Setter of the Week
Junior Ellie Watkins picked up SBC Setter of the Week honors after her performance at the Bluegrass Battle in her first weekend at Arkansas State after transferring from Pittsburgh. She handed out 111 assists for an 11.10 per set average that leads the conference.
Additionally, the Weldon Spring, Mo., native posted 13 kills on a .520 hitting percentage, 18 digs, four blocks, and a team-high three service aces.
The 11.10 assists per set mark ranks as 41st best in the country.
Three Named Preseason All-SBC
A-State’s Carlisa May, Kenzie Fields, and Jessica Uke all earned a spot on the SBC’s Preseason All-Conference Team. The three players were the most by any one team with Louisiana-Lafayette, UT Arlington, and Texas State each placing two.
May is the reigning SBC Offensive Player of the Year and has 810 kills to her name during her career at A-State. She won the SBC Freshman of the Year Award and AVCA All-Southwest Region Freshman of the Year before garnering Honorable Mention AVCA All-American honors to become just the second All-American in school history at the time in 2015. May led the league with 445 kills in 2016.
Fields won the league’s Freshman of the Year award in 2016 as a redshirt freshman and was second on the team with 288 kills. She also had the second most double-doubles with six.
Uke, a senior in the upcoming season, has never earned a postseason or preseason award from the league, but was well-deserved after hitting .365 a season ago with 148 kills and 50 blocks. The .365 hitting percentage was the fifth-best in school history for a single season.
A-State Picked to Repeat as Division Champs
A-State was picked to the win the West Division for the second straight season with 71 points and 11 of the 12 first-place votes. Texas State was picked second with 57 points and the other first-place vote. Texas State was responsible for snapping the Red Wolves’ 20-match SBC winning streak last season with a 3-1 win in San Marcos on Oct. 7. However, it was A-State’s only blemish in the regular season to a league foe and the Red Wolves enter 2017 with an 11-match conference win streak.
UTA, Little Rock, Louisiana, and ULM round out the rest of the West Division.
Coastal Carolina was picked to repeat as East Division champions with 72 points and all 12 first-place votes. The Chanticleers defeated A-State 3-1 in last season’s SBC Tournament final and went on to win a match in the NCAA Tournament.
South Alabama was picked to finish second in the East Division followed by Georgia Southern, Georgia State, Appalachian State, and Troy.
A-State in Season Openers
A-State is now 27-16 all-time in season openers with Coach Rehr holding a 2-4 mark in his six season openers after the loss to Kentucky. The Red Wolves had won their last two season openers with sweeps of Southeast Missouri in 2015 and Northwestern State in 2016 before the loss to UK.
The Red Wolves won eight straight season openers from 1977 to 1984 for the longest streak in school history, with the longest losing streak being three twice (2005-07 and 2012-14).
What a Senior Class
Arkansas State lost five seniors off last season’s team in Markie Schaedig, Mallory Warrington, Kelsey Reis, Jessica Heuertz, and Shelby Holmes.
Schaedig and Warrington were both All-Americans a season ago, with Schaedig earning the school’s first All-American honor as a sophomore in 2014. Schaedig ended her career with the third most digs in school history (2,153). Warrington became the ninth member of the 1,000-1,000 Club with 4,296 career assists and 1,183 digs. The 4,296 assists were the third most in school history. Schaedig was a three-time SBC Defensive Player of the Year, while Warrington received the Setter of the Year award from the league twice.
Reis was no slouch as she was a back-to-back First-Team All-Conference performer and finished her career with 399 blocks, good for eighth most in school history. She is also responsible for the seventh-highest hitting percentage in school history of .302. Heuertz played in 121 matches in her career with 684 digs as a defensive specialist, while Holmes played in 65 with 246 kills.
A-State has eight newcomers on the squad.
Arkansas State broke in several newcomers with five seeing action in the Bluegrass Battle and another earning the first playing time of her career (Soph. Diane Phillips).
Tatum Ticknor subbed in to play libero for Phillips during the Kentucky match and had a solid weekend by leading the team with 52 digs for a 5.78 per set average that currently leads the conference.
Ellie Watkins played setter and excelled, while Timber Terrell, Peyton Uhlenhake, and Ryley Gill were the other true freshmen to receive playing time. Terrell and Uhlenhake both tallied the first kills of their careers, while Gill had three digs. Uhlenhake also had a block.
Red Wolves Non-Conference Notes
Arkansas State went 8-6 in non-conference last season with wins against teams from the ACC, Big 10, Summit League, Southland (2-0), Atlantic 10, Big West, and Ohio Valley.
The losses were to teams from the Big 12, SEC, American Athletic, Horizon League, Missouri Valley, and Conference USA.
The two wins over teams from “Power 5” leagues (North Carolina State and Indiana) are the most in a single season for A-State since 2000 when the Red Wolves defeated Marquette and LSU.
The Red Wolves are now 37-30 in non-conference action under head coach David Rehr.
A-State is 1-0 against the AAC in 2017 with 0-1 marks against competition from the Southeastern Conference and PAC 12.