COMMERCE – No. 15 Tarleton set a new school record for consecutive wins with a four-set thrilling road victory over No. 22 Texas A&M-Commerce (25-19, 25-19, 21-25, 27-25) on Friday at The Field House.
It’s the 16th straight win for Tarleton, topping last year’s record of 15 in a row. Tarleton (19-2, 11-0), who hasn’t lost a match in over a month, remains the only undefeated team in Lone Star Conference play. The win snapped Texas A&M-Commerce’s 10-match winning streak and was also the first home loss of the season for the Lions, who entered the match 7-0 at home.
The last two times Tarleton has recorded double-digit win streaks in a season, they went on to win the Lone Star Conference championship (2015, 2017). It’s Tarleton’s second victory over a ranked opponent this season, both coming against Texas A&M-Commerce.
Tarleton hit .132 in the match while holding the Lions to a .084 mark. The TexAnns made their impact defensively with 20 blocks in the match. It’s the second 20-block performance of the season for the TexAnns, the other being a 23-block match, which also came against Texas A&M-Commerce back on Sept. 8.
Adriana Darthuy and Lauren Kersey led Tarleton with 11 kills each while Hannah McManus added eight kills and nine blocks. Five TexAnns had at least four blocks, led by Sofia Tonga’s 11. Adrianna Knutson had a match-leading 21 digs, while Darthuy (15), Blanca Izquierdo (11) and Michaela Rodriguez (10) also had double-digit digs. Izquierdo led the team with 20 assists.
In the opening set, Tarleton and Texas A&M-Commerce split the first 18 points before the TexAnns went on a 9-0 run to pull away. The TexAnns benefited from six attack errors by the Lions while Hannah McManus also recorded two blocks and a kill during the stretch. A&M-Commerce climbed back to within three at 22-19, but the TexAnns closed with three straight points, including a service ace by Kayla Brannon to win the set.
The two nationally-ranked teams went back and forth again to open the second set, as the TexAnns led 9-8 early on. A 6-1 push by Tarleton opened the set up for a 15-9 advantage. McManus, Adriana Darthuy and Lauren Kersey all registered blocks during the run. The lead grew to 20-13, the largest of the set, behind more blocks by McManus and Kersey. Two straight errors by the Lions ended the set and gave the TexAnns a 2-0 advantage in the match.
The Lions got their lone set win in the third. It was the first set the TexAnns have lost since Sept. 14 – a stretch of eight matches and 26 straight sets won. The TexAnns led 20-19 before the Lions reeled off six of the final seven points to take the set.
The TexAnns fell behind 16-8 in the fourth set before the momentum shifted. The TexAnns fired back with nine straight points to regain the lead at 17-16. The lead would grow to 22-20 before the Lions would go back on top 23-22. Darthuy and McManus powered down back-to-back kills to put the game at match point at 24-23, but the Lions took two straight points to lead 25-24. Darthuy’s kill tied the game at 25-25 and McManus and Darthuy’s block put the TexAnns up 26-25. A Lion error, one of 40 for them in the match, ended the game and secured the TexAnn victory.
Tarleton will travel today to Texas Woman’s in Denton for a 2 p.m. start time.