PITTSBURGH, Pa. – Tarleton Volleyball’s record-setting season came to an end in the NCAA Division II Championship quarterfinals with a 3-0 loss (21-25, 22-25, 23-25) to No. 3-seed Western Washington at the A.J. Palumbo Center.
The TexAnns, who were the No. 6 seed in the national tournament, finish the season with a 32-5 record, which set a school record for wins in a season.
In the 2018 season, the TexAnns won a record 24 consecutive matches, won their third Lone Star Conference Championship in program history and hosted the South Central Regional Tournament for the first time en route to the first regional championship in program history.
Tarleton ran into a Western Washington team who has now won 29 matches in a row and improves to 29-3 overall. The TexAnns hit .233 in the match while the Vikings hit .303. Amber Strange led all players with 15 kills while Tatyana Tuialii-Umi posted 10 kills to lead the offense.
Tarleton and Western Washington went point for point in the opening set, as the two teams posted eight lead changes and seven ties through the first 30 points. The TexAnns had a 10-7 lead early on with a kill from Tuialii-Umi. The three-point lead remained moments later with a Hannah McManus block to move the score to 12-9. The Vikings went on a 10-4 run to take a three-point lead of their own. The TexAnns got to within two on Adriana Darthuy’s kill, but the Vikings scored four of the final six points to take the set.
The TexAnns came out strong in the second set, as Tuialii-Umi powered down three straight kills to go up 7-4. Lauren Kersey’s kill moved the score to 12-9. The Vikings came back to tie the score at 17 and took the next two points to take their first lead of the set. Strange’s kill put the TexAnns within two at 22-20, but the Vikings landed three of the next five points to go up 2-0 in the match.
Tarleton built a 7-3 lead early in the third set and held the lead until Western Washington went on top 21-20. Tarleton led 20-18 late in the set, but the Vikings went on a 5-0 run to lead 23-20. Strange rallied the TexAnns back to a tie with two straight kills, but the Vikings took the final two points to end the match.
Tarleton has four seniors on the roster: Adrianna Knutson, Hannah McManus, Blanca Izquierdo and Elizabeth Muliaga. Knuston posted 12 digs, while McManus had three kills and three blocks. Izquierdo had a team-leading 24 assists and Muliaga recorded a dig in the final match.
Knutson finishes her illustrious Tarleton career as one of the greatest players to ever don the purple and white. The senior from San Antonio will end her career as the all-time leader in sets played (500) and digs (2,007). She is the first player in program history with 2,000 digs in her career and averaged 4.01 digs per set in her four years with Tarleton.
McManus also goes down in the Tarleton record books among the best to wear the uniform as the senior All-American from Caldwell finished her career as the fourth TexAnn in school history – and first since Desiree Reed – to end a career with a hitting percentage (.308) higher than .300. She is the fourth player in program history with over 400 career blocks and is the program’s all-time leader in assisted blocks (351).