SPECIAL TO THE FLASH
STEPHENVILLE (September 26, 2015) – Tarleton could sense the victory, needing one point to make history at 24-19 in the final set against West Texas A&M with nearly 600 faithful Tarleton fans on their feet waiting to erupt. Senior Kelsey Raglin sent a hard attack right into the chest of the Lady Buff defender, which sailed out of bounds to seal Tarleton’s 3-1 win over rival WT – giving the TexAnns back-to-back wins over the Lady Buffs for the first time ever.
Tarleton trailed 4-5 to WT in the opening set when the TexAnns launched ahead of the Lady Buffs with an 8-0 run sparked by three straight aces from Hailey Roberts to take a 12-5 lead.
Tarleton’s advantage grew to 19-9 with Xzache Mathis delivering four of her set-high six kills in the process. WT cut Tarleton’s lead to 24-20 but Mathis stopped the run and powered another kill fromChandler Gow to win the first set 25-20.
Looking for a 2-0 lead, Tarleton had its hands full in the second set as the TexAnns and Lady Buffs were knotted up at 10-10 early.
WT pulled ahead 11-14 but Tarleton rebounded to make it a 15-14 score on three straight errors by WT. Roberts’ next two kills provided leads for Tarleton at 16-15 and 17-16 with Meg Umbel adding a kill for Tarleton’s biggest lead at 18-16 since it was 9-7 in the second set. After three aces in the first set, Roberts continued to torch the Lady Buffs with back-to-back aces for a 21-17 lead that forced a WT timeout. WT was able to make it a 23-22 game when Tarleton’s leaders in kills, Mathis and Roberts, sealed the set with kills to win 25-23.
The second set featured 12 ties and six lead changes compared to only three times and one lead change from Tarleton’s rout in the opening set.
WT led throughout the third set, winning 17-25. It was Tarleton’s first set to lose at Wisdom Gym this season after sweeping three prior matches and winning the first two sets against WT. Tarleton fell behind 1-5 early but was able to make it a one-point game at 16-17 with two kills from Mathis and one from Umbel. WT, however, closed out on an 8-1 run.
After WT led 1-5 in the fourth set, Tarleton responded with 6-1 run that was paced by Roberts’ three straight kills and her sixth ace of the game – tying a career high – to give Tarleton a 7-6 lead. WT was able to take an 11-13 lead when Tarleton dug deep and poured on another run that would put them on top for good. Raglin led the comeback push with a kill that started a 4-0 run with Alexander having a hand in four straight points on a kill and three blocks – including back-to-back blocks that gave Tarleton a 19-14 lead and electrifying the Wisdom Gym crowd. Tarleton improved to 11-3 overall and 2-1 in the Lone Star Conference.
It’s the first time Tarleton defeated WT in less than five sets.
The TexAnns were led by Hailey Roberts‘ 18 kills, who also added 17 digs. Xzache Mathis was right behind with 13 kills.
Kenya Alexander (eight kills, seven blocks), Chandler Gow (six blocks) and Meg Umbel (four kills, four blocks) were a force at the net and blocking WT’s attacks. It was a career-high in blocks for Gow, who also added 46 assists.
Ayssa Garcia had 20 digs and an ace for the TexAnns while Adrianna Knutson added six digs.
Tarleton will take on Eastern New Mexico on Saturday at 2 p.m. in Wisdom Gym.