Tuialii-Umi’s 22 kills lead No. 11 Texans over St. Edward’s in LSC opener


STEPHENVILLE – No. 11 Tarleton returned home to begin Lone Star Conference action and took down St. Edward’s in four sets on Friday evening in the Wisdom Volleyball Gym.

The Texans (6-3) topped the Hilltoppers with 25-16, 25-22, 23-25, and 25-18 set wins. Tatyana Tuialii-Umi led all players with a career-high 22 kills and hit .500 for the match while Lauren Kersey, the reigning LSC Offensive Player of the Week, posted nine kills on a .350 hitting percentage in the conference win.

In the opening set, the Texans never trailed despite St. Edward’s hanging close with a 13-11 Texan lead early on. Tarleton used a 7-2 run behind three kills from Tuialii-Umi to go up 23-15. Sofia Tonga followed with a kill and Michaela Rodriguez put the set away with a service ace to go up 1-0 in the match.

Tarleton and St. Edward’s went back and forth in the second set, posting eight ties and nine lead changes through the first 34 points as both teams were tied at 17-17. The two squads would alternate points until Tarleton was up 22-21. Adriana Dathuy powered down a kill and Lauren Kersey and Carmen Kinsey delivered the final two points to go up 2-0 in the match. Darthuy finished the match with nine kills and 11 digs.

St. Edward’s lone set win came in the decisive third set when the Hilltoppers scored the final three points after the Texans led 23-22.

Looking to put the match away, Tarleton held a slim 17-16 lead in the fourth set. Carmen Kinsey pounded down two of her eight kills in a row and Sofia Tonga added another for a 21-17 advantage. Tuialii-Umi closed the match out with two kills and a 25-18 set win.

Amari Franklin paced the offense with a game-high 27 assists and 13 digs for the double-double. Michaela Rodriguez led the Texans with 17 digs. Sofia Tonga posted a game-leading five blocks at the net.

No. 11 Tarleton will turn around tomorrow and host St. Mary’s at 1 p.m. in the Wisdom Volleyball Gym.

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