Special to The Flash Today
STEPHENVILLE (September 1, 2017) -– Tarleton Volleyball is officially 2-0 when playing games as a nationally-ranked program after the TexAnns swept all six sets of the first day of the TexAnn Invitational, including a thrilling sweep of No. 23 Rockhurst in a national top-25 showdown in Wisdom.
Tarleton’s first-ever match as a ranked program went about as well as could be expected as the No. 25-ranked team in the nation, according to the American Volleyball Coaches Association, handled Maryville with ease 3-0 in Friday’s season opener.
Newcomer Adriana Darthuy made herself known to the Tarleton faithful right away as the sophomore from France served up the first six points of the season for a quick 6-0 lead to force an early Maryville timeout. Tarleton came out of the break and continued to pour it on with seven of the next 11 points to extend the lead to 13-4.
After Tarleton pushed the lead to 21-10, Darthuy finished what she started by serving up the final four points of the set, which were scored on two kills each from Jordyn Keamo and Amber Strange for the 25-10 win.
The Saints kept things close over the first 15 points of the second set as Tarleton held a 9-6 advantage, but Strange got the TexAnn offense rolling with a kill to start an 11-2 run to put Tarleton up 20-8. Maryville pulled back within single digits at 22-13 but a Hannah McManus kill and two Saint errors sealed the second set for Tarleton.
Tarleton took an early 7-5 advantage in the third set and eventually doubled up the saints with a 9-3 run to extend the score to 16-8. Maryville pulled back to six at 18-12 before a Hailey Roberts kill started the game-ending 7-2 Tarleton run for the 25-14 win.
Roberts led the team with 14 kills on a .308 hitting percentage while Darthuy landed 10 kills on a .529 hitting percentage in her TexAnn debut. Strange landed eight kills in her first collegiate action while Keamo (5), McManus (2), and Chandler Gow (1) rounded out Tarleton’s 40-kill effort. Keamo dished out a team-high 22 assists in the season opener.
The TexAnns held Maryville to a (-).013 hitting percentage for the match, including a (-).038 clip in the final set. Michaela Rodriguez led the team with 11 digs while Darthuy had nine digs.
Tarleton handled Rockhurst in a sweep in the first top-25 showdown ever played inside the Wisdom Volleyball Gym.
The opening set saw the game stay close and even tied as late as 22-22 before back-to-back attack errors by Rockhurst set up the TexAnns with a match point and forced the Hawks into a timeout. Out of the break, a service error pulled the game within one, but Hailey Roberts quickly ended it with a kill shot for a 25-23 win.
In the second set, Rockhurst jumped out to a 9-6 lead to force Tarleton into a timeout. The lead held through 13-10 before a service error, two Roberts’ kills, and an attack error swayed the momentum and put Tarleton on top 14-13. The game stayed tight and was even tied five more times through 24-24 before Roberts and Adriana Darthuy went back-to-back with kill shots for the 26-24 win.
In the final set, Tarleton was dominant from the get-go as the TexAnns jumped out to a 9-3 advantage. Rockhurst answered back with a 7-5 surge, but a service error gave the serve back to Tarleton’s Jordyn Keamo and the All-American setter took it from there.
Keamo served up four straight, including two aces, to start a game-ending 11-2 Tarleton run to clinch the set 25-12 and the match 3-0.
Roberts led all players with 17 kills while Darthuy finished with nine. Keamo dished out 34 assists to go along with her pair of aces.
The TexAnn defense was impeccable against the No. 23 Hawks as Tarleton held Rockhurst to a .115 hitting percentage for the match, including a .000 percentage in the final set. Darthuy led the team with 18 digs while Adrianna Knutson(14) and Roberts (12) also cracked double figures. For Roberts, it was the first double-double of her senior season.
Tarleton will return to action tomorrow in day two of the TexAnn Invitational at 12:30 p.m. against Southwest Baptist before closing things out with another top-25 showdown against No. 18 Central Oklahoma at 5:30 p.m. in Wisdom Gym.