MATCH 30: No. 5 South Alabama (17-9)/No. 8 Troy (10-21) vs. No. 4 Arkansas State (19-10)
Friday, Nov. 17 • 7:30 p.m. CDT
First National Bank Arena • Jonesboro, Ark.
Series: A-State leads USA 30-5/A-State leads Troy 15-1
Live Stats: SunBeltStats.com; Live Video: ESPN3
This season marks the 43rd year of volleyball at Arkansas State and A-State has an all-time mark of 1,023-517-5 (.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 is coming off a 3-2 win over in-state rival Little Rock Nov. 10 in a match that concluded the regular season for the Red Wolves.
The Red Wolves hit .231 in the win over the Trojans and held Little Rock to a .194 percentage. A-State had 15 more digs than Little Rock (89-74) and Tatum Ticknor had 32 of those digs, just one shy of tying her career high. Carlisa May led the team with 22 kills.
Madison Turner notched a career-high 11 kills in the win over Little Rock and is hitting .423 this year in limited action.
Arkansas State is the No. 4 seed in the 2017 Sun Belt Conference Tournament and has earned a bye to the quarterfinal round. A-State will play either No. 5 South Alabama or No. 8 Troy.
The Red Wolves are 30-21 all-time in SBC Tournament matches with the 30 wins representing the most among current members of the league. A-State has reached the finals of the event two years in a row, winning in 2015 and losing to Coastal Carolina last year.
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. South Alabama Series History
Arkansas State has a 30-5 advantage over South Alabama all-time and has won six straight over the Jaguars.
The first meeting happened in 1982 with Arkansas State dropping a 2-0 decision to South Alabama at the Mississippi University for Women Invitational in Columbus, Miss. The two teams met again in 1988 with A-State picking up a victory that started a 14-match win streak over the Jaguars that USA snapped with a 3-1 victory in Jonesboro in 2001.
Since the loss in 2001, the Red Wolves are 16-3 against the Jaguars with head coach David Rehr holding an 8-1 advantage over South Alabama all-time. His 2012 team swept the Jags in the only meeting before the two teams split two matches in 2013 with each squad winning on its home floor. Since the loss in 2013, A-State has won six straight over the Jaguars with all of them being sweeps until this season when A-State won 3-1 Oct. 22.
A-State’s 3-1 win over the Jags in Mobile earlier this season was USA’s first SBC loss of the year after South Alabama started league play 9-0. A-State only out hit USA .250 to .244, but out blocked the home team 10-7 despite the Jaguars leading the league in blocks. Carlisa May had 19 kills to lead the Red Wolves while Timber Terrell (12) and Jessica Uke (10) were also in double-digits. Kenzie Fields had three aces and both Terrell and Uke had five blocks each. Kristina Alabastro had 12 kills to lead South Alabama, while Hannah Harris had 10 in 11 attempts for a .909 hitting percentage, the highest by a single player this season against Arkansas State.
South Alabama is 17-9 overall and finished 12-4 in league play, but is the fifth seed due to the loss to the Red Wolves. The Jaguars defeated Troy in back-to-back matches on Oct. 4 and Oct. 7 by scores of 3-0 and 3-1, respectively.
A-State vs. Troy Series History
Arkansas State leads the all-time series with Troy by a count of 15-1 with the last 15 matches coming as conference foes.
The first meeting and only match as nonconference foes occurred in 1999 at the Southern Mississippi Holiday Inn Classic where the Red Wolves defeated, then, Troy State by a score of 3-1.
The two teams began playing as SBC opponents in the 2005 season with A-State earning a 3-1 win in Troy, Ala. The Red Wolves have won every other match between the two schools since then except the 2013 match in Troy, which the Trojans won 3-1. Since then, the Red Wolves have won six straight against Troy.
The Red Wolves swept Troy this season in the only meeting on Oct. 20 at Trojan Arena. A-State had to come from behind to win set one during extra points 30-28 before winning set two 25-22 and set three 25-14. Carlisa May tied a season high with 24 kills in the three sets on a .364 hitting percentage, while Drew Jones was the only other A-State player in double-digit kills with 15. Ellie Watkins handed out 42 assists and Timber Terrell had four blocks. Jenni Young had 10 kills for the Trojans as A-State out hit them .302 to .157 and didn’t allow Troy to record a service ace.
The Trojans enter the tournament as the eighth and final seed and are 10-21 on the year with a 4-12 mark in league play. Troy won a five-set match over App State on the final weekend to vault into the 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 is second in the league in kills per set at 4.10 and has 430 total kills. She’s had seven matches of 20 or more kills this season and had 22 in the win over Little Rock Nov. 10
Senior Drew Jones was also a First-Team All-Conference selection, the first All-SBC honor of her career, and is fifth in the league in kills per set at 3.37 per set (354 total kills). She’s also tied for the team lead in aces with 20 and has the third most digs on the team with 254. The Fort Smith, Ark., native leads the Red Wolves with 12 double-doubles and is third on the team in blocks with 50.
Junior Ellie Watkins and freshman Tatum Ticknor garnered All-SBC Second-Team accolades. Watkins leads 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. Ticknor served as the team’s libero virtually all season and has 532 digs to her credit for a 5.02 per set average that leads the SBC. She is also tied for the team lead in aces with 20 and handed out 88 assists.
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 in the SBC Tournament
A-State is 30-21 all-time in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament with the 30 wins representing the most among current members of the league with Little Rock the next closest at 28. The 30 wins are the second most all-time in the event with Western Kentucky’s 51 leading the way.
The Red Wolves have made it to two straight championship matches in the competition, but were the top seed in the tournament the last two seasons. 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 five of his seasons up to this point.
This is 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 registered a 17-4 record during that time span 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.
A-State Loses to TXST, Bounces Back at UTA
A-State saw its seven-match win streak snapped by Texas State Nov. 3 with a sweep at the hands of the Bobcats, but bounced back to defeat UT Arlington 3-1 Nov. 4 and is now 18-10 on the year with an 11-4 mark in SBC play.
The loss to the Bobcats was the second time A-State has been swept by Texas State this season, marking the first time since 2014 that the Red Wolves were swept in both matches by a SBC opponent (Little Rock). Arkansas State only hit .161 in the match, which is it’s fourth lowest percentage in a Sun Belt match this season and allowed a .293 percentage to Texas State, which is the third highest of the season for an opponent against A-State and the highest for a SBC team against the Red Wolves.
Carlisa May led the Red Wolves with 10 kills against the Bobcats and Drew Jones added eight. Tatum Ticknor led the team with 16 digs and Jessica Uke had four blocks. Madison Daigle (13), Megan Porter (11), and Amy Pflughaupt (11) were all in double-digit kills for Texas State.
A-State continued the Texas road swing with a 3-1 victory at UT Arlington Nov. 4. Carlisa May led the team with 17 kills to give her 15 matches of 15+ kills this season. Drew Jones was also in double digits with 11 kills and had a pair of aces in the match along with three blocks, all solos. A-State only hit .197 in the match, but held the Mavericks to a .086 hitting percentage, making it the fourth time this season the team has held an opponent under .100. Tatum Ticknor led the team with 16 digs, while Lindsay Cline tied a career high with three service aces as the Red Wolves totaled eight as a team. UTA was led by Qiana Canete’s double-double of 16 kills and 10 digs, while Zhanelle Geathers added 12 kills.
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 was nominated by HERO Sports for its Division I Volleyball Player of the Week for the second straight time and won it for the second straight week after winning the fan vote.
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. The .464 hitting percentage is the highest for A-State since the 2011 season. 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 11 weeks this season and have had at least one weekly award winner 27 times out of 35 chances since the beginning of the 2015 season. Over that time span, Arkansas State players have claimed 45 separate individual weekly honors.
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 354 kills and a 3.37 per set mark. The Forth Smith, Ark., native now has 1,073 kills to her credit.
Carlisa May was the other player to achieve 1,000 career kills earlier this season and now has 1,240 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 26 away from tying Susanne Snipes, who had 1,266 from 1997-2000.
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.