Texan Volleyball advances to LSC Tournament Semifinals with thrilling 5-set win over WT

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COMMERCE – Tarleton Volleyball advanced to the Lone Star Conference tournament semifinals with a thrilling five-set win over West Texas A&M (25-17, 28-26, 15-25, 24-26, 15-13) at the Field House in Commerce.

The Texans (21-10) will play the winner of tournament host Texas A&M-Commerce and 9-seed Texas Woman’s on Friday, Nov. 22 at 7:30 p.m. at the Field House. Tarleton has now advanced to the LSC Tournament semifinals for the sixth straight year and are looking to return to the championship match for the sixth consecutive season where they’ve won two titles.

It was a key win for Tarleton and its postseason fate as the Texans entered the LSC Tournament as the 7 seed in the NCAA South Central Regional tournament and West Texas A&M was ranked No. 6. With the win, the Texans add another regional win to their resume that already features a 21-win season and wins over three top-25 opponents.

Lauren Kersey had a career night in the win, pouring in a personal best 20 kills on a .350 hitting percentage. Amber Strange tied a season-high with 17 kills on a .293 hitting percentage and Tatyana Tuialii-Umi added 14 kills and a career-high 22 digs as the trio led the Texans on both ends of the court in the win.

Tarleton won the opening set 25-17 and it was never close out of the game. The Texans led 11-2 and 16-7 to start. Kersey posted three kills and a service ace during the early run. Tuialii-Umi put the Texans up double digits at 20-10 with a kill. The Texans would coast to a 1-0 match lead with Kersey’s fifth kill of the set being the finishing touch.

In the second set, the Texans were in for what was the start of a match-long battle as the two teams split the first 30 points to a 15-15 tie. The Texans gave themselves some breathing room with a 3-0 run to go up 21-18 on kills from Tuialii-Umi and Natalya Chatham. Chatham added eight kills on the night on a .286 hitting percentage. However, West Texas A&M countered with a 3-0 run of its own to even the match. WT would take a 26-25 lead before the Texans evened the score at 26-all and took the final two points on Strange’s kill for the go-ahead point and an attack error put the Texans up 2-0 in the match.

West Texas A&M took the next two sets to even the match and force a fifth and deciding set.

The Lady Buffs led 8-4 through the halfway point of the fifth set that forced Tarleton to take a timeout. The Texans reeled off four straight points on a block from Kersey and Tuialii-Umi and a pair of kills from Carmen Kinsey, who had eight kills in the match. WT would lead 12-9 and 13-10 but the Texans never gave up. Strange’s kill was the start of five straight points to close out the match. The next sequence by Tuialii-Umi won the game for the Texans as the all-conference senior had a kill-block-kill-kill to bring the Texans from behind and win the match.

Kayla Brannon had a career-high 53 assists that led to Tarleton hitting .236 on the match. It’s the first 50-assists match in Brannon’s career. She also added 14 digs for the double-double.

Adrianna Darthuy added a career-high 30 digs to lead all players. Michaela Rodriguez also had double digit digs with 13, giving the Texans four players with at least 10 digs.


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