SPECIAL TO THE FLASH
SAN ANGELO (November 18, 2016) – For the third straight year, Tarleton Volleyball is heading to the Lone Star Conference tournament championship game after defeating Texas A&M-Kingsville 3-1 (26-24, 23-25, 25-13, 25-16).
The TexAnns, winners of eight straight games, will play the winner of No. 1-seed Angelo State and No. 4 Eastern New Mexico on Saturday at 3 p.m. in the Junell Center in San Angelo.
The opening set was the closest game of the match, featuring 11 ties and five lead changes. Tarleton and A&M-Kingsville were tied at 16 when the Javelinas made a push for a 22-18 lead that forced the TexAnns to take a timeout. The TexAnns rallied with kills from Alissa Johnson and Elizabeth Muliaga and five straight errors by the Javelinas gave the TexAnns a 25-24 advantage. Adrianna Knutson‘s ace on the ensuing serve gave the TexAnns the come-from-behind win in the first set.
Tarleton and A&M-Kingsville swapped points throughout the first half of the second set as the two teams were tied at 14 when the Javelinas went on a 6-0 run for a 19-14 lead. Tarleton was able to battle back with a 5-1 run and make it a 21-20 game on Hannah McManus‘ kill but the Javelinas prevailed to win the set and even the match at 1-1.
Leading 7-6 in the third set, Jordyn Keamo went to serve for Tarleton and started a 7-0 run that included two straight aces by Keamo and kills from Hailey Roberts and Alexis Applewhite that put Tarleton up 15-7. The TexAnns didn’t let up, scoring seven on the next nine points late in the set with kills from Autumn Taylor, Keamo and Roberts. Keamo’s third ace of the set gave Tarleton the final point of the set to win 25-13 and lead 2-1 in the match.
Tarleton took the early 2-1 lead in the fourth set and didn’t trail again. Nine of the next 11 points were scored by the TexAnns with Roberts taking control of the match by pounding down five kills during the stretch. Alexis Applewhite sent the TexAnns to the championship game with kills for the 24th and 25th and final point.
The TexAnns hit .172 in the match but limited the Javelinas to a .085 hitting percentage, including -.043 in the final set while Tarleton hit its highest percentage of the match at .225 in the clinching set.
Hailey Roberts had a match-high 18 kills while Autumn Taylor followed with 13 kills for her second straight double-digit kills performance. Jordyn Keamo had 45 assists, her 10th 40-assist game of the season and first since Oct. 28. Keamo also had a game-high three aces and eight digs.
Adrianna Knutson posted 28 digs to lead all players in the game. It’s Knutson’s second highest dig total of her career (30 against West Texas A&M on Sept. 23). Roberts (13) and Alissa Johnson (19) also had double-digit digs, with Johnson’s 19 digs being a career high. Alexis Applewhite had a game-high six blocks to go with six kills, while Elizabeth Muliaga posted five blocks and five kills. Hannah McManus was also a force at the net with four blocks and five kills.