STEPHENVILLE – No. 17 Tarleton continues to dismantle its opponents with sweep after sweep, this time against UT Permian Basin (25-12, 25-17, 25-23) on Friday in the Wisdom Volleyball Gym.
It’s the 14th straight win for Tarleton, who improves to 17-2 overall and remains atop the Lone Star Conference standings at 9-0. The TexAnns have swept seven straight matches and 12 of the 17 wins this season have resulted in sweeps. The 14-match winning streak is the second longest in school history, trailing only last season’s streak where they won 15 in a row. It’s the third time in the last four seasons the TexAnns have recorded a double-digit win streak.
Tarleton hit .239 as a team and held UT Permian Basin (10-8, 5-5) to a .099 mark. Tarleton’s defense was also a force, blocking nine attacks to the Falcons’ one block. Amber Strange led the TexAnns with 11 kills on a .588 hit percentage while Adriana Darthuy also registered double-digit kills with 10. With six total blocks and four assisted blocks, Hannah McManus passed Kenya Alexander to move into sole possession of second place on the all-time assisted blocks list with 274.
Adrianna Knutson continues her climb up the all-time digs list after recording a game-high 12 digs in the match to put her at 130 digs from breaking the school record.
In the opening set, Tarleton and UT Permian Basin were in an early battle, as the TexAnns held a slim 6-5 lead. Leading 15-11, the TexAnns went on an 8-0 run led by three service aces from Kayla Brannon and a pair of kills and a block from Tatyana Tuialii-Umi for a double-digit advantage. Tarleton scored the final three points on kills from Strange and Sofia Tonga and an ace by Michaela Rodriguez.
The Flash Today photography by Dr. Chet Martin
Tarleton got off to a quicker start in the second set as they led 9-2 right out of the gate. UTPB would cut the lead to four at 15-11, but the TexAnns closed to match on a 7-3 run with kills from Sofia Tonga, Strange, Darthuy and Tuialii-Umi.
Looking to close out the match, Tarleton got off to a slow start in the third set after trailing by as much as 9-1. The TexAnns battled back, using runs of 5-0 and 8-0 to regain the lead. Darthuy had three kills during the 8-0 push while Rodriguez had three service aces during the stretch, including the go-ahead point in the set. UTPB led 19-17 when Lauren Kersey delivered back-to-back kills for a 21-19 lead. Strange delivered the final point on a kill to win the set and complete the sweep.
Lauren Kersey posted eight kills in the match while Tatyana Tuialii-Umi had five kills. Blanca Izquierdo posted a game-best 18 assists while Kayla Brannon added 11 assists and three aces. Michaela Rodriguez had eight digs and a team-leading four aces.
Tarleton will take on Western New Mexico on Saturday, Oct. 6 at 2 p.m. for its annual Pink Out game in the Wisdom Volleyball Gym.