STEPHENVILLE – Tarleton split the final day of the Tarleton Invitational by sweeping past Oklahoma Baptist before falling to No. 16 Central Oklahoma in the nightcap.
Match 1: No. 18 Tarleton 3, Oklahoma Baptist 0
Fresh off the momentum of a thrilling sweep of Harding in the Friday nightcap, Tarleton wasted no time in starting the season with its third consecutive sweep by knocking off Oklahoma Baptist in straight sets.
Hannah McManus landed the first kill of the match as Tarleton went on to take a 6-1 lead and force an early Oklahoma Baptist timeout. Out of the break, the Bison pulled as close as four but Tarleton ultimately scored 10 of the next 18 points to take a 16-9 lead.
After Oklahoma Baptist answered to pull within three at 16-13, Adriana Darthuy landed a kill to start a set-clinching 9-4 run to win the opening set 25-17.
Tarleton dominated the second set by scoring nine of the first 12 points and cruising to a 25-15 win.
Oklahoma Baptist chirped back in the third set as Tarleton held a slim 8-7 lead after the first 15 points, but Tatyana Tuialii-Umi landed back-to-back kills before Sofia Tonga and Darthuy combined on a block to put Tarleton up 11-7 and force a Bison timeout. Oklahoma Baptist came out of the break with three points of their own to keep it a one-point game and force Tarleton into a timeout.
Darthuy scored out of the break to start a 9-7 Tarleton run over the next 16 points and put Tarleton up 20-17. The Bison pulled within two on two different occasions after that, but two Bison errors and a Michaela Rodriguez service ace allowed Tarleton to pull away before a Tonga kill ended the match.
As a team, Tarleton hit .315 while holding Oklahoma Baptist to just .152. Freshman Lauren Kersey led the way with a .556 hit percentage and 12 kills while McManus finished with eight on a .538 hit percentage. Darthuy and Tuialii-Umi each added seven kills while Amber Strange had five.
Blanca Izquierdo (20) and Kayla Brannon (14) paced the offense with 34 assists while Adrianna Knutson led the defense with 14 digs. Tonga also had three blocks.
Match 2: No. 16 Central Oklahoma 3, No. 18 Tarleton
Tarleton couldn’t complete the sweep of its home tournament and suffered its first loss of the season with a sweep at the hands of No. 16 Central Oklahoma.
In the opening set, the teams traded points for most of the match but a 5-1 UCO run turned a 13-12 Tarleton lead into a 17-14 advantage for the Bronchos and forced Tarleton to take a timeout. Out of the break, Tarleton pulled to one at 23-24 but couldn’t bring it back to even and force extra points.
Central Oklahoma went on to take each of the next two sets by identical 25-19 scores.
Tarleton his .191 as a team while allowing Central Oklahoma to hit .304. Adriana Darthuy led the way for Tarleton with nine kills while Lauren Kersey (8) and Tatyana Tuialii-Umi (7) combined for 15. Sofia Tonga led the team with five kills and no errors on eight swings for a .625 hit percentage.
Blanca Izquierdo dished out 20 assists while Kayla Brannon totaled 13. Adriana Knutson led the team with 14 digs while Darthuy added 11 of her own.
Adrianna Knutson was named Tournament MVP while Darthuy and McManus earned All-Tournament accolades.
Tarleton will head to St. George, Utah next weekend for a tournament at Dixie State – beginning Thursday at 8 p.m. against the host Trailblazers.