No. 18 Tarleton staves off UC-Colorado Springs in five-set thriller

Adrianna Knutson is closing in on career digs mark

ST. GEORGE, UT – Led by a trio of TexAnns with double-digit kills, No. 18 Tarleton warded off a pesky rally from UC-Colorado Springs to win its fourth match of the young season.

While leading Tarleton to victory, senior libero Adrianna Knutson enjoyed a milestone afternoon as she recorded the second 30-dig match of her illustrious career and moved into third place all-time on the Tarleton career digs list with 1,518. Knutson leaped over Hailey Roberts (1,505) and Katie Covell (1,516) into sole possession of third place all-time. She is now 138 away from tying Emily Klein (1,656) for the second-most digs in program history.

Knutson wasn’t the only one setting season and career highs for the match.

Lauren Kersey led the way with a career-high 19 kills on a .333 hitting percentage while Adriana Darthuy pounded down 17 kills. Tatyana Tuialii-Umi scored a season-high 14 kills of her own on a .387 hitting clip. Those three Tarleton players combined for 56.5 of Tarleton’s 93 points for the match.

Blanca Izquierdo dished out 34 assists for her first career 30-assist performance while freshman Kayla Brannon had her first collegiate 20-assist performance (22). Izquierdo and Darthuy also boasted double-double performances with 11 and 15 digs, respectively. Michaela Rodriguez added 16 digs.

The first set opened up in a back-and-forth affair through the first 41 points as UCCS took a 21-20 edge and forced Tarleton into a timeout. Out of the break, Darthuy and Kersey landed back-to-back kills to put Tarleton on top 22-21. UCCS evened up the set at 24-24 but Darthuy and Tuialii-Umi put the set away with kill shots to take the opener.

Tarleton dominated the second set by jumping out to a 17-8 lead and then extending it to a 24-14 edge. UCCS scored a couple of pride points before a block from Muliaga and Darthuy closed out the set with a block.

After UCCS rallied back to take the next two sets and send the match to five, where two big points from Tuialii-Umi turned the tide. In an 8-8 tie, the junior landed a kill and then partnered with Hannah McManus on a block to give Tarleton a 10-8 lead and force UCCS into a timeout.

Out of the break, Tarleton scored five of the final eight points and clinched it on a kill from Brianna Acker to win 15-11.

Tarleton will close out the tournament tomorrow with matches against Adams State and Arkansas-Fort Smith starting at 10 a.m.

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