JONESBORO, Ark. (9/15/18) – The Arkansas State volleyball squad got a balanced offensive attack as the Red Wolves concluded the 2018 A-State Invitational with a perfect 3-0 record with a 3-0 (25-15, 25-17, 25-22) victory over Jackson State on Saturday afternoon at First National Bank Arena.
A-State (8-5) hit .295 in the match and held Jackson State (1-10) to a .058 percentage as the Lady Tigers committed 21 attack errors, while the Red Wolves converted 35 of their attacks for kills against just seven errors. A-State also had nine service aces on the afternoon and had eight team blocks as the team won its sixth straight match and won its first non-conference tournament title since 2015 when A-State won the Golden Hurricane Classic.
“We were able to experiment a little bit today with some of our younger players,” A-State head coach David Rehr said. “I was proud of how they played and even when the third set got close I was able to trust them and felt like we still had the set won and we went out and did that. Overall, I was pleased with the effort the whole tournament. It’s very good to have won six in a row and have this confidence going into conference play this weekend.”
Isabel Theut and Madison Brown led the team with nine kills each, while Julianna Cramer dished out 26 assists. Tatum Ticknor and Peyton Uhlenhake finished with nine digs each, while Cramer also added seven digs. Theut posted a .500 hitting percentage, while Sara Betts added nine kills on a .455 mark. Josie Stanford led the Red Wolves with a career-high four blocks, while Betts, Brown, and Theut each had three.
Arkansas State ran out to a 9-5 lead in set one after a kill by Brown that forced a Jackson State timeout and then pushed its advantage to 23-11 after a kill by Cramer. Brown ended the set with one of her two service aces on the day as the Red Wolves finished with a .367 attacking percentage in the set.
The Red Wolves raced out to a 17-7 advantage in the second set, but the Lady Tigers went on a 5-0 run to close with a 17-12. Brown ended the Jackson State run with a kill and held the visitors to just five points for the remainder set as another service ace, this time from Ticknor, ended the frame.
The third set was more competitive as Jackson State held a 15-14 advantage midway through. Uhlenhake evened the score with a kill and sparked a mini run for the Red Wolves as the captured six of the next seven points to build a 20-16 edge. The Lady Tigers closed to within 20-19, but A-State quickly responded with three straight kills to force a timeout and then closed out the match with a kill by Theut to complete the sweep.
A-State’s Carlisa May was named the tournament MVP after posting 48 kills (5.33 per set) in two matches along with 20 digs, five assists, and four blocks. Ellie Watkins was also named to the All-Tournament team with 100 assists for an 11.11 per set average in the tournament, while Ticknor rounded out the team’s All-Tournament honorees after she picked up 58 digs for a 4.58 per set average and also knocked in five service aces.
Central Arkansas placed two on the All-Tournament squad in Samantha Anderson and Haley Tippett, while SIU’s Patience Brown and Jackson State’s Markayshia Masani were the other two members.
Arkansas State returns to action Sept. 21 against Troy to open up Sun Belt Conference play. First serve from First National Bank Arena is set for 6:30 p.m.
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 updates regarding the team.