JONESBORO, Ark. (11/17/17) – Hosting its first conference tournament since 1996, the No. 4 seed Arkansas State volleyball team collected a 3-0 (25-22, 28-26, 25-22) victory over No. 8 Troy in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament quarterfinals Friday night at First National Bank Arena.
The Red Wolves picked up their third consecutive victory and have won 12 of their last 13 matches, running their season record to 20-10. A-State has now collected at least one SBC Tournament victory to advance to the semifinals of the event all six seasons under head coach David Rehr. The Trojans saw their season come to an end with an 11-22 record.
Led by Carlisa May and Drew Jones with 16 and 11 kills, respectively, A-State finished the night with a .204 hitting percentage that included a match-high .250 in the second game. Madison Turner posted a season-high six blocks as A-State recorded its second most this season as a team with 13. Troy was unable to hit over .150 in any of three games as it finished with a .082 attack percentage.
“We had a few jitters in the first game, but once we were able to get it rolling as the match went along,” said Rehr. “We’ve got to be a better team to beat (No. 1 seed) Coastal Carolina tomorrow, but I’m proud of the effort and I think we did a really good job. Troy set the bar in the first set with four blocks and we answered back with 13 for the match. So we did a good job defensively, and I’m proud of our team.”
The initial set saw Troy take an early 5-3 lead before A-State took its first advantage at 6-5. The Trojans wouldn’t reclaim the lead until 12-11 and held it until reaching a 16-16 tie. With the score still locked 21-21, the Red Wolves went on a 4-1 run, capped by Kenzie Fields kill, to claim a 25-22 victory.
Troy was able to take its largest lead in the second set at 17-13 and still led 23-22 before A-State took advantage of a Troy attack error and Jessica Uke block to reach set-point. Troy then reversed the tables with back-to-back kills by Savannah Moore to make the score 25-24 in favor of the Trojans. The Red Wolves responded by again winning back-to-back points before Troy tied it at 26-26. Jones followed by collecting a kill and A-State secured the victory on a hitting error by the Trojans.
The final set reached at a 13-13 tie without either team leading by more than a point, although A-State took the lead for good on back-to-back points on a block and Troy attack error. Leading just 20-19, the Red Wolves scored five of the last eight points to claim the three-point win.
Arkansas State will face No. 1 seed Coastal Carolina at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. The other Sun Belt Conference semifinal match will be played at 5:00 p.m. between No. 3 Louisiana and No. 2 Texas State. Both matches will appear on ESPN3.
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