DI VB Recap: Texas St. and UTA wins two matches; Texas and Baylor pushed to five sets

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Bobcats rally to clinch series; sweeps day one at No. 15 Louisiana

Story courtesy: Texas State Athletics

Texas State (10-1, 5-0 Sun Belt) won its 100th Sun Belt Conference match with a superb comeback from an 0-2 deficit to win the nightcap 3-2 (14-25, 18-25, 25-20, 25-15, 15-10) vs. No. 15 Louisiana Friday night at Earl K. Long Gym. Junior outside hitter Janell Fitzgerald dropped a career-high 24 kills to lead the Bobcats.

After a rocky start and on the verge of being swept, Texas State took its game to another level and got stronger and stronger as they completed the backwards sweep to clinch the weekend series over the nationally ranked Ragin’ Cajuns. The Bobcats pulled out the victory despite a .170 hitting percentage and matching a season-high 11 service errors. The Cats did turn in a season-high 83 digs however, and registered 11 blocks in the match, marking the third time this season the team has recorded 10 or more blocks. They also held the Ragin’ Cajuns to zero aces for the second consecutive match.

“I love the fight and grit of this team,” said head coach Sean Huiet. “We knew were going to be in for a dogfight this weekend and tonight was proof of that. Janell [Fitzgerald] stepped up and carried us tonight offensively. I also thought Michelle Foster came in and did a great job for us. She served aggressively and helped us create that early separation in the fifth set.”

Fitzgerald (.320) reached the 20-kill mark for the second time this season and it was the third time a Bobcat has reached 20-plus kills since sophomore outside hitter Caitlan Buettner logged 27 kills in the season opener vs. Central Arkansas. Fitzgerald also registered a career-best seven digs and finished with two blocks, including one solo. Junior outside Kenedi Rutherford is averaging 11 kills per match after repeating her performance from earlier in the day, and also set a career-high with seven digs. Junior setter Emily DeWalt recorded her seventh double-double this season and the 39th of her career with 49 assists and 13 digs. DeWalt also had a season-high seven blocks and added two kills. Sophomore outside hitter Lauren Teske matched a career-high with three aces to lead the team and finished the match with seven kills, 12 digs, and two blocks. Junior libero Kayla Granado anchored the defense with a team-high 21 digs and senior setter Brooke Johnson had 15 digs and one ace in the match.  

Sophomore middle blocker Kara Barnes led the Ragin’ Cajuns with 16 kills and seven blocks, while senior outside hitter Hali Wisnoskie followed with 13 kills and added four digs and three blocks. Junior outside Kelsey Bennett concluded Louisiana’s top hitters with 12 kills and had a double-double with her 17 digs. Bennett also logged four blocks. Senior setter Avery Breaux also had a double-double with 51 assists and 12 digs, and senior libero Hannah Ramirez led all players with 25 digs.

The Bobcats are now 20-2 all-time vs. Louisiana and are 7-2 when playing in Lafayette.

Louisiana won a wire-to-wire opening set 25-14. La. scored the match’s first four points before Texas State cut into the lead by scoring five of the next seven points. The Ragin’ Cajuns then responded with a 5-1 advantage that was highlighted by a 3-0 run to force a Bobcat timeout and the home team extended their lead to nine at 17-8 to pressure TXST to use its final timeout of the set. The home team dominated from there as they held the reigning conference champions to a .026 hitting percentage. Fitzgerald led the way with six of TXST’s nine kills.

The Ragin’ Cajuns jumped out to a 7-2 lead but a Bobcat 4-0 run trimmed the lead to 7-6.  Texas State pulled within one point four times and tied it twice, but Louisiana did not relinquish its lead and separated themselves 20-15 behind a 3-0 run and another 6-1 run to make the score 23-16. The home team took a 2-0 match lead after winning the frame 25-18.

The Bobcats took their first lead of the match at 4-3 after Fitzgerald went on a personal 3-0 run. Both teams found themselves locked in a tie three times before Louisiana regained the lead and went ahead 9-6 behind a 4-0 run. The Bobcats fought back with a 5-1 run, forcing a Louisiana timeout with the visitors leading 11-10. Texas State’s lead grew as many as three points (16-13) before a Ragin’ Cajun 5-0 run made a lead change 18-16 to force a Bobcat timeout. Out of the break, Teske’s kill sparked a 4-0 burst that expanded to a 9-2 scoring run to close the set and avoided the sweep with a 25-20 victory.

Texas State pressured Louisiana into burning its first timeout of the set after a 4-0 run put the visitors ahead 7-4. The run grew to six unanswered, making the score 9-4 before Louisiana stopped the bleeding. It was all Bobcats from there though, as the Bobcats evened the match with a 25-15 victory. Fitzgerald and Teske paced the Bobcats with three kills each.

The Bobcats jumped out to a 7-1 lead in the deciding set that forced Louisiana to run through both of its timeouts. The visiting team continued to dominate and won the set handily, 15-10 behind five kills from Fitzgerald to complete the comeback.

The weekend series between Texas State and Louisiana will conclude at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 17 with a rubber match at Earl K. Long Gym.


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Mavs Sweep Doubleheader with A-State; Off To Best Start Since 2004

Story courtesy: Michael Hill, UTA Athletics

The UT Arlington volleyball team swept their home opening doubleheader over Arkansas State on Friday, Oct. 16. The Mavs outlasted the Red Wolves in match one of the day, defeating A-State 3-2 (20-25, 25-20, 25-22, 22-25, 15-7). UTA completed the sweep of the doubleheader with a 3-1 (25-22, 18-25, 25-22, 25-23) win in the nightcap.

The sweep pushed UTA to 5-0 on the season, marking the first 5-0 start to Sun Belt Conference play in program history. The 5-0 start also marks the sixth time the Mavs have opened the season with five straight wins and the first time since 2004 when the Mavericks opened the season 6-0.

UTA and Arkansas State will battle in series finale on Saturday afternoon (Oct. 17) at 1:00 p.m.

FINAL (MATCH 1) | UTA 3, Arkansas State 2 | 20-25, 25-20, 25-22, 22-25, 15-7

Briana Brown led the way with a team-high 15 kills. Brianna Ford finished with 11 kills and 12 digs, while Devon Martinka registered 11 kills and three blocks. Brooke Townsend added 10 kills, eight digs and four blocks. Mollie Blank and Kylee Kapp tallied 21 assists each, while Alli Wells finished with a match-high 33 digs.

Madison Brown led the Red Wolves with 16 kills, while Josie Stanford finished with 12 kills.

The Mavs edged A-State in hitting percentage .156-.155 and forced the Red Wolves into 27 hitting errors.

FINAL (MATCH 2) | UTA 3, Arkansas State 1 | 25-22, 18-25, 25-22, 25-23

Brianna Ford led UTA with 14 kills, as three Mavericks tallied double-digit kills. Simara Peyton and Brooke Townsend recorded 10. Both Ford and Townsend notched double-doubles. Mollie Blank also posted a double-double with 24 assists and 21 digs. Alli Wells led with 27 digs while Kylee Kapp had 12 assists and 11 digs.

Madison Brown recorded 24 kills on a program-record 89 attempts to go along with 15 digs to lead A-State. Lauren Musante posted her second straight double-double of the weekend with 45 assists and 28 digs.


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No. 2 Baylor Edges Texas Tech in Five

Story courtesy: Baylor Athletics

No. 2 Baylor volleyball (6-1) edged past Texas Tech (3-4) in five sets Friday night in Lubbock at United Supermarkets Arena, 15-25, 25-19, 25-16, 21-25, 15-9.

Senior Yossiana Pressley recorded a season-high 27 kills on a .309 efficiency, while redshirt junior Callie Williams posted a career-high 57 assists. Junior Shanel Bramschreiber topped her career-best for the fifth match in a row with 22 digs.

The Bears got off to a sluggish start, hitting just .103 in the first set. The Red Raiders took full advantage and held BU to 15 points.

In the second, Baylor redshirt sophomore Lauren Harrison hit .417 and combined with Pressley to collect 15 kills. The Bears led from wire-to-wire, opening the set on a 4-0 run, as well as going on a 6-0 run that was capped off by a Pressley smash at 18-12. Redshirt junior Marieke van der Mark put down one of her 11 kills on the night to end the set in BU’s favor.

Baylor’s defense was on display in the third, holding the Red Raiders to a mere .034 attack percentage with three blocks. Williams spread the ball around as four Bears recorded at least three kills in the set. Harrison’s kill at 18-16 sparked a nine-point run to the end of the set, finished off once again by a van der Mark smash.

In the fourth, BU struggled to find a rhythm outside of Pressley, who tallied nine kills on 19 swings and Tech found a way to send the match to five. The final set was back-and-forth for the first eight points, but a van der Mark kill gave the Bears a 5-4 lead. Consecutive kills by Pressley kept BU ahead 8-4, Harrison put another down at 12-6, and Williams finished it off at 15-9.

The Bears had two players above 20 kills for the first time this season, as Pressley (27) and Harrison (21) both eclipsed the mark.

Baylor (6-1) and Texas Tech (3-4) will tangle once more in Lubbock on Saturday at 6 p.m. at United Supermarkets Arena. The match will be streamed on Big 12 Now on ESPN+.


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No. 1 Texas wins thriller at Kansas State

Story courtesy: University of Texas Athletics

No. 1 Texas Volleyball was pushed to five sets, but came out on top 3-2, 25-19, 25-21, 25-20, 25-18, 15-7, over Kansas State on Friday night at Bramlage Coliseum.

Logan Eggleston led the Longhorns with her first double-double of the season, compiling a season-high 20 kills to go with 14 digs. Skyler Fields finished with a season-high 18 kills to go with three blocks. Asjia O’Neal added a season-high 14 kills to go with five blocks.

Jhenna Gabriel matched her season and career high with 58 assists and totaled 14 digs. She also finished with one kill and one block. Morgan O’Brien finished with 17 digs, two assists and two service aces.

Brionne Butler had nine kills and six blocks, while Molly Phillips had four kills and five blocks.

Texas and Kansas State will square off again on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. at Bramlage Coliseum.


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SUGAR BEARS GRAB FIRST WIN OF THE FALL SEASON

Story courtesy: UCA Athletics

The University of Central Arkansas broke through to grab a couple of firsts as they played their second to last game in the fall season. 

The Sugar Bears dominated in three sets as they finally got in the win column for the fall schedule. This victory meant something extra special as head coach John Newberry experienced his first taste of winning as a head coach at the collegiate level. Leading the charge for the victory was sophomore Alexis Stumbough, who led the squad with 13 kills and accounted for seven digs. From the defensive side of things, senior Emily Doss provided 18 digs, which helped propel the Sugar Bears to victory. 

The first set started strong for UCA as they quickly jumped towards a 3-0 lead. However, ULM wasn’t about to back down, as soon after they tied it up with their own 3-0 trend. This factor would be evident throughout the first set as neither side gained an inch until its final segments. With the set knotted at 21 apiece, redshirt senior Amanda Beaton propelled the Sugar Bears to the 25-23 victory after two kills in the final five points made the difference.  

In a similar fashion to the first, the matchup saw tons of ties and small leads. The set’s largest lead came when it mattered most as senior Amari Mitchell got the kill to give the Sugar Bears a 20-15 lead late in the second. The late advantage proved too much for the Warhawks as junior Madi Bowles finished the second set off with a kill making the score 25-21.

The Sugar Bears guided the momentum they hosted from the first two sets and ensured that the third was their last set. UCA got off to a commanding lead and continued to push till the score read 19-11.  The Warhawks hosted a small rally, but the kills leader, Stumbough, made sure it was over with one final kill in the match. 

The Sugar Bears are headed home for the fall season’s final matchup as they host ULM at 3 p.m. on Sunday in the Farris Center. 


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TCU Falls to West Virginia

Story courtesy: TCU Athletics

TCU volleyball dropped a road match to West Virginia on Friday evening, 3-1 (26-28, 25-11, 24-26, 20-25). The Horned Frogs outkilled WVU 65-47 in the loss. Freshman Taylor Raiola earned her first career double-double with 14 kills and 10 digs.

“Our team battled today, but came up short,” head coach Jill Kramer said. “We are continuing to improve in many aspects of the game and are looking forward to getting back in the gym this week”

After a disappointing start the night before, TCU seemed determined to reverse its fortunes in the opening set, going on an 8-1 run to go in front, 17-11. Swanson and Baker served throughout the run as Raiola led the Frogs with three kills and a block in the stretch. However, WVU would respond with a run of its own to tie the set, 20-20. The Mountaineers fought off four TCU set points and eventually stole the set, 28-26. Adams led the team with four kills in the set, while Raiola, Manyang, Myers and Swanson each contributed three as well. Nichols finished with 16 assists while Dennison led the defense with five digs. 

TCU bounced back from the difficult result the set before with its most dominant set of the 2020 season thus far. The Horned Frogs hit .303 as a team, led by Raiola with five kills. Adams posted four along with Manyang’s three and the Frogs rolled to a victory. Wehrstein was phenomenal in the back row, leading the way with six digs as TCU held the Mountaineers to -.083 hitting. Raiola, while finishing with solid first set numbers, really announced herself in the second, leading the team with 11 swings and being the go-to option multiple times when the Frogs got into a bind. Her infusion into the lineup and subsequent stellar play helped boost the confidence of everyone on the court wearing purple and white and led to the biggest set victory of this season.

WVU responded back and held a 14-11 lead. The Horned Frogs would fight back pulling within one point eight times from that point on, even tying the set at 24-24, but WVU claimed the final two points to win the set. Adams led the offense with six kills while Dennison finished with an incredible 11 digs.

The fourth set put the punctuation mark on the match with 10 tie scores and three lead changes. Both teams battled hard for the entirety of the set with neither side being able to lead by more than two points. That is, until WVU took a three-point lead at 22-19 and eventually won the set by five. Adams and Manyang collected four kills each and Dennison finished her night with eight digs, giving her 19 digs over the final two sets of work.

The Horned Frogs return home for another Thursday/Friday series. They will battle the Kansas Jayhawks on Oct. 22 and 23 at 3:30 p.m. Both matches will be streamed on Big 12 Now on ESPN+ from Schollmaier Arena.

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