Special to the Flash
The defending Lone Star Conference champion Tarleton State opened league action with a dominating performance Friday, sweeping Texas A&M-Commerce at the Wisdom Volleyball Gym.
The TexAnns (8-1) led throughout the first set against the Lions and built an early 12-7 edge with kills from Hannah McManus, Hailey Roberts and Rebecca Dauenhauer that sparked a 3-0 run. Still maintaining the five-point advantage, Tarleton put the first set out of reach from Commerce on a kill from Chandler Gow that led to a 4-0 run and a 20-11 lead. Dauenhauer and Roberts had two kills apiece in the final four points to give Tarleton the 25-18 win in set one.
Tarleton grabbed an early 6-3 lead over A&M-Commerce in the second set, but the Lions rebounded to take their first lead of the match at 9-8. After exchanging points up until a 12-11 Commerce lead, Tarleton went on a 7-1 run by taking advantage of four straight Lion attack errors followed by kills from Roberts, Dauenhauer and an ace from Jordyn Keamo to give the TexAnns an 18-13 lead. Despite seven ties and four lead changes in the set, Tarleton closed out the frame strong with another 4-0 run to go on top 22-14 and later take the set 25-17 on an Abby Mackey kill. Commerce had 10 attack errors in the second set with Tarleton’s defense holding the Lions to a .024 hitting percentage.
The Lions looked poised to not get swept by jumping out to an early 10-5 lead, their largest of the match. After coach Mary Schindler called a timeout, Tarleton slowly crept back into the set with a 9-2 run to regain the lead at 21-18. During the momentum-shifting run, the TexAnns had kills from four different players (Dauenhauer, Roberts, McManus, Mackey) and a service ace from Michaela Rodriguez. Commerce would make it a one-point game at 21-20, but Tarleton closed the game out with a 4-1 stretch to win 25-21.
Roberts posted a game-high 15 kills and provided 12 digs for her eighth double-double of the season and sixth straight. Dauenhauer recorded nine kills while McManus delivered with six. The trio also were a force at the net defensively, totaling 11 blocks between them (McManus 4, Dauenhauer 4, Roberts 3).
Tarleton only had 11 errors on the game, marking the second lowest total of the season since they had 10 against St. Mary’s in the season-opening win. The .273 attack percentage for Tarleton is also the second-best of the year behind a .299 clip against St. Mary’s.
Tarleton will continue its homestand with a match against Texas Woman’s on Saturday, Sept. 17 at 12 p.m. in the Wisdom Volleyball Gym.