STEPHENVILLE (September 2, 2017) – Tarleton continues to make program history as the TexAnns capped off a flawless run through the 2017 TexAnn Invitational with back-to-back sweeps of Southwest Baptist and No. 18 Central Oklahoma to start a season with four consecutive sweeps for the first time ever.
“I’m extremely proud of the way we played this weekend,” said head coach Mary Schindler. “The girls played incredibly hard against some very good teams. Our fans were incredible. The environment they create for us in Wisdom Gym is second to none and we appreciate that so much. Now we’re going to turn our attention to a very prestigious tournament in Colorado next weekend and try to keep getting better.”
The Tarleton offense came out swinging as the TexAnns hit .348 as a team, led by an .836 hitting clip by freshmanAmber Strange, and pounded Southwest Baptist to open the season with three straight sweeps for the first time in program history.
The match opened with the team splitting the opening eight points before Hannah McManus landed a kill shot to start a 14-6 Tarleton surge. The Bearcats clawed back but ultimately back-to-back errors delivered the opening set to Tarleton 25-18.
After Roberts opened the second set with a kill, Strange took over by serving up five straight points – including three straight aces – to push Tarleton to a 6-0 lead early on. Jordyn Keamo and Adrianna Knutson followed suit with runs of their own to extend Tarleton’s lead to a set-high 13 points at 17-4. Tarleton went on to win eight of the next 17 points to secure the win 25-13.
In the final set, the teams split the first 12 points before Hailey Roberts shifted the momentum back to the home side with a kill shot to start 10-3 Tarleton push. Tarleton continued to roll with nine of the next 13 points to claim the match win.
Strange led the team in kills in just her third collegiate game as the freshman landed 11 kills on 13 attacks with no errors. The freshman middle also had a team-high three service aces. Hailey Roberts also cracked double figures in kills with 10 while Alexis Applewhite added six off the bench.
Keamo served up a 22 assists while Roberts (9) and Keamo (8) led the way in digs. The Tarleton defense held the Bearcats to a (-).012 hitting percentage for the match, including a (-).130 hitting percentage in the second set.
Tarleton knocked off its second straight evening sweep of a nationally-ranked program as the TexAnns swept No. 18 Central Oklahoma to close out the TexAnn Invitational.
A kill by Amber Strange right off the bat got Tarleton rolling as the TexAnns jumped out to an 8-1 lead in the opening set. The Bronchos pulled within two points as late at 15-13, but Tarleton scored its final six points of the sets on kills – one by Alexis Applewhite, three by Adriana Darthuy and the final two of the set from Hailey Roberts.
Due to a miscue in the second set, Roberts – a four-year starter, three-time All-American and National Player of the Year as an outside hitter – made her first-ever set start as the team’s libero.
According to the game’s officials, the rules state that whatever player is identified as the team’s libero will be the libero for the entire match. Tarleton’s lineup sheet had Roberts listed in the starting six and as the team’s libero, which meant a substitution needed to be charged before the match began to fill in Roberts’ position in the starting six. Camryn Berryhill was inserted for her college debut.
“So (Hailey Roberts) had just landed two amazing shots to end set one and I remember saying to (Assistant Coach) Katie (Hoekman) ‘that’s what happens when you have the best player in the country’ and her number was on my mind and I guess I wrote it down twice,” said Schindler with a smile after the match. “Fortunately, we were able to come together and play really well in that set against a really good team.”
Bailey Meggs came off the bench and made her Tarleton debut with four kills on six attempts in the second set. As a team, the TexAnns didn’t commit a single attack error during the set while landing 12 kills on a .364 hitting percentage. Roberts had one kill in her only attempt while wearing the libero uniform.
Tarleton rallied back from an early 8-6 deficit in the set when Applewhite started a 7-2 Tarleton run to put the TexAnns in the driver’s seat. Tarleton held the lead through the rest of the set and Strange finished it off with a kill shot at 25-19.
Back in their normal rotations, Tarleton rode the wave of momentum out to an 8-0 lead in the final set. No longer handcuffed by the restrictions of the libero jersey, Roberts powered down four of the team’s first eight points. Tarleton maintained a healthy lead throughout the final set and Roberts finished what she started with another set-ending kill shot to win 25-17.
Darthuy led the team with 13 kills while Roberts had her second double-double of the season with 12 kills and 11 digs.Jordyn Keamo also went for a double-double performance as the senior from Hawaii dished out 39 assists and led the team with 39 digs.
Tarleton will head to Colorado next weekend as the TexAnns take part in the Colorado Premier Tournament, dually hosted by Metro State and Regis. The TexAnns will start the tournament Friday at noon against Central Missouri.