By BRAD KEITH
STEPHENVILLE (November 17, 2017) — It doesn’t take long for the best player in the Lone Star Conference history to piece together an impressive stat line.
In the final Lone Star Conference Championship semifinal Friday evening, it took only three sets.
Hailey Roberts has long been listed among national leaders in kills with more than 5 per set, but she was slamming home points at a pace of 7.3 per set with a 22-kill and 10-dig double-double to lead Tarleton State (28-5) to a 25-19, 25-13, 26-24 sweep of West Texas A&M (21-13).
The TexAnns avenged their loss to WTAMU at The Box in Canyon, where they had their school-record 15-match win streak snapped on October 28. They have won six straight since then, a streak that goes on the line at 3 p.m. Saturday in the tournament final. The TexAnns are facing a hungry Texas Woman’s team that needs a win to secure an automatic bid to the NCAA Division II Volleyball Championship.
Tarleton will receive an invitation to the regional rounds of the playoffs regardless of Saturday’s outcome, as the TexAnns entered the week ranked No. 2 in the South Central Region and won’t fall out of the top 8. TWU is not currently ranked in the region and will only advance with a win Saturday. The TeXAnns won both regular season matches against the Pioneers, sweeping them in Stephenville and going to four sets in Denton.
Roberts had plenty of help Friday, especially from setter Jordyn Keamo, which she has come to expect. The Hawaiian All-American setter posted another stellar stat-stuffing line of 33 assists, two service aces, eight digs, three kills and two block assists.
Adriana Darthuy had 15 kills, Amber Strange blocked five shots, Adriana Knutson made 21 digs and Blanca Izquierdo rotated off the bench to earn an impressive double-double with 13 digs and 10 assists. Alexis Applewhite landed six kills and three blocks.
WTAMU did not have a hitter with half as many kills as Roberts. Erin Clark led the Lady Buffs with 10. Chandler Vogel led WTAMU in assists with 13, while Selena Batiste had 18 assists and Cheyenne Lytle five blocks.
Tarleton landed 54 kills on 49 assists while WTAMU had 32 on 29. The TexAnns aced four serves to one by the Lady Buffs and made 65 digs to 54. Tarleton hit .270 on its 137 attacks and WTAMU finished at .113 on 124 attacks.
Tarleton is attempting to win the LSC Championship and tournament championship in the same season for the first time since joining the league in 1995. They won their first tournament title in 2014, and their first two regular season championships in 2015 and this season.
The only team ranked above Tarleton in the South Central Region is Regis (Colo.), which also has a pair of sweeps this week, beating Black Hills State (SD) and Colorado Christian to reach the final in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Tournament.
Regis meets Metro State (Colo.) at 6 p.m. CST Saturday. If Tarleton wins and Regis loses, there is a possibility the TexAnns could climb atop the regional rankings and host the South Central Region Championship tournament.