By BRAD KEITH
STEPHENVILLE (November 7, 2015) — Tarleton State had not lost at home all season, and the TexAnns weren’t about to allow that to change on their senior day.
Kenya Alexander killed 12 balls and blocked 11 more, and Kelsey Raglin landed the kill on match point. Both are among the eight seniors who celebrated a perfect 11-0 regular season home mark, capped by a 25-11, 25-18, 21-25, 25-18 victory over Texas A&M-Kingsville at Wisdom Gym Saturday afternoon.
National kills leader Hailey Roberts recorded the 17th double-double of the season with 13 kills and 12 digs for Tarleton (23-5, 13-1), ranked second in the South Central Region and alone in first place in the Lone Star Conference after its NCAA-era school record 13th consecutive LSC win.
But this win wasn’t just about Roberts continuing to prove she is among the best hitters in the nation. It was about balance, with senior Xzache Mathis contributed 12 kills and Alexander posting a .600 attack percentage.
Chandler Gow had assists on 35 of 49 kills along with four digs, two kills and two blocks. Helping Alexander lead the defense was senior libero Ayssa Garcia with 15 digs.
Tarleton started fast, scoring the first seven points to briefly silence the Texas A&M-Kingsville football team that cheered loudly from the mezzanine seating for much of the match. The Javelinas and Tarleton meet in football at 7 this evening at Memorial Stadium.
Consecutive kills by Roberts opened up a 21-8 lead in the first set rout. Mathis landed four kills in the set.
Tarleton made it a commanding two-set lead over A&M-Kingsville (18-13, 7-7), ranked seventh in the region and tied with A&M-Commerce for fourth in the LSC, when a 6-1 push opened up a 20-14 lead. Roberts had five kills and an ace in the set.
A&M-Kingsville scored the first six points and never trailed in the third set. Tarleton scored five straight to get to 22-19, but A&M-Kingsville called timeout and ultimately held on down the stretch.
Mathis landed kill shots to ignite 4-0 and 5-0 runs in the fourth set, the latter opening up a 13-6 lead. The Javelinas cut it to 15-11, but Roberts landed a kill to begin a 3-0 stretch and the TexAnns, who conclude the regular season by visiting Midwestern State next Friday and Cameron on Saturday, November 14. Wins in both would secure the first LSC regular season title by Tarleton and bring the LSC Championship to Stephenville for the first time.
A&M-Kingsville was led by Krystal Faison with 13 kills while Madison Brabham added 11. Brett Zaccardo made 16 digs and Casey Klobedans had five blocks. The Javelinas close out their regular season at home against Eastern New Mexico next Friday and West Texas A&M on Saturday, November 14.
The LSC Championship tournament will be hosted by the top finisher in the final regular season standings. Tarleton is the reigning champ, winning its first LSC tourney title last year at West Texas A&M in Canyon.