By BRAD KEITH
STEPEHENVILLE (September 8, 2015) — Tarleton State (5-0) posted a .542 hitting percentage and aced 10 serves to cruise through its home opener with an easy 25-8, 25-8, 25-13 sweep of Division III Howard Payne (0-1) in front of 694 rowdy fans Wisdom Volleyball Gym Tuesday.
The TexAnns had 60 earned points to 14 and outscored HPU 75-29 overall. The disparity came as no surprise with Tarleton coming off an LSC tournament title and NCAA Division II playoff run and off to its best start since 2010, while Howard Payne offers no athletic scholarships and was playing its season opener.
Perhaps the TexAnns would have liked one more set as sophomore All-American outside hitter Hailey Roberts tallied 13 kills and seven digs, missing a double-double for the first time of the young season. Kenya Alexander had eight kills, Meg Umbel added six and each made two blocks. Chandler Gow had 12 assists and Marissa Banda 12. Adrianna Knutson had nine digs.
Tarleton scored the first seven points to turn the opening set into a laugher, then did the same with eight straight points after HPU scored first in the second. The third was tight, at least for a little while. But Tarleton finished on a 10-2 run to bust out the brooms.
The much tougher Division II competition resumes this weekend when the TexAnns travel to Colorado for the Steel & Silver Classic. They face Missouri Western State and Colorado-Colorado Springs at 9 a.m. and noon on Friday, then move to Pueblo for games against Western State (Colo.) and Colorado State-Pueblo at 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday.