Tarleton sweeps past Texas Woman’s to advance to sixth straight LSC title match


COMMERCE – The Lone Star Conference Cinderella story was short-lived as No. 9-seed Texas Woman’s ran into perennial power Tarleton Friday.

The Texans wasted no time in dispatching the Pioneers in straight sets to advance to the LSC Tournament Championship match for the sixth straight season. Tarleton has now been a part of every LSC Tournament Championship final since 2014 – winning the title three times. Tarleton will square off with rival Angelo State at 3:30 p.m. in Commerce tomorrow.

Texas Woman’s, who was coming off back-to-back upsets of No. 8-seed Lubbock Christian in the Tuesday play-in game and No. 1-seed Texas A&M-Commerce last night, jumped out to an early lead with three of the first four points but Tarleton would be a quick end to that run. A Pioneer service error opened the door for seven unanswered Texan points that gave Tarleton an 8-3 lead.

The 7-0 run was the beginning of a 15-3 Tarleton run over which the Texans held Texas Woman’s without consecutive points while building a 16-6 advantage. Tarleton would go on to cruise to a 25-15 win in the set.

Tarleton’s dominance carried into set two as Tatyana Tuialii-Umi opened things with a kill shot to start a 6-2 set-opening run for the Texans. The Pioneers clawed back but would never take the lead in the set as Tarleton ended with three unanswered points on two Pioneer errors and an Emma Halcomb ace.

The third set started in a promising fashion as the Texans held a three-point lead at 11-8 before Natalya Chatham landed a kill that started Tarleton’s most dominant run of the night. The Chatham kill shot was the beginning of a 14-6 run to clinch the match for the Texans.

Tarleton enjoyed a season-high hitting performance at .381 as a team. The Texans had three different players with at least five kills and a .500 hitting performance – Lauren Kersey (9) hit .529, Carmen Kinsey (9) hit .500, and Chatham (5) hit .556. Tuailii-Umi also shared the team-high in kills with nine.
Kayla Brannon led the offensive onslaught with 29 assists while Adriana Darthuy (14) and Tuailii-Umi (13) combined for 27 digs on the night.

Tarleton will square off with league rival Angelo State in the championship match. The match will renew the LSC title bout from each of Tarleton’s first three tournament championship appearances – 2014-16. First serve is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. in Commerce. A live broadcast can be seen on the Lone Star Conference Digital Network and an audio broadcast on the Tarleton Sports Network can be heard online at Tarleton.edu/ThePlanet or locally at 100.7 FM.

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