HOUSTON – Tarleton delivered a spotless performance in its final tune-up before beginning Western Athletic Conference play, sweeping Texas Southern in set scores of 25-10, 25-12 and 25-19 on Thursday.
The Texans never trailed beyond a 1-0 Texas Southern lead following the first play of the match. Tarleton doubled up the host Tigers in all three frames and led by as many as 15 points in sets one and two.
The win was Tarleton’s third straight victory and second sweep of the season. Tarleton improved its overall record to 7-7 ahead of its conference-opener at Sam Houston on Sept. 30.
Tarleton limited the Tigers to just 13 assists, 18 kills, 25 points and 86 total attacks – all of which were opponent-lows this season. Offensively, the Texans laced home 31 kills on 73 swings against a season-low seven errors for a .329 hitting percentage. Tarleton also benefited from 10 service aces, 23 assists and 36 digs.
Four players with at least five total attacks hit above .400 in the match.
Lauren Kersey led Tarleton in points (10.5) and kills (10) for the second consecutive evening. Kersey, who landed 14 kills to help the Texans earn a 3-1 win at Incarnate Word on Wednesday, recorded her second highest hitting percentage of the season (.444).
Freshmen Megan Haynes and Trinity Vinzant each hit .500, with Haynes posting a season-high five kills. Rounding out the attack was Hali’a Swartman-Hogan, who chipped in 4.5 points behind three block attacks and a pair of kills to the tune of a .400 percent clip. Originally from Hawaii, Swartman-Hogan has hit above .300 in five matches this season and in three of Tarleton’s last four outings.
Senior Kayla Brannon again engineered efficient ball contact for Tarleton. Brannon led Tarleton with 11 assists to go along with 10 digs for her fourth double-double in the last five games and 27th of her career.
Fellow setter Matti Theurer maximized her second start of the 2021 campaign. The sophomore tied Brannon for the team lead in digs with 10 of her own.
Head coach Mary Schindler utilized the match as an opportunity to give younger players extended run on the court. Tarleton entered 16 of the 19 players listed on its roster in the contest and six newcomers appeared in at least two sets.
A 3-3 tie to open the match was as close as Texas Southern came to threatening Tarleton. The Texans doubled up the Tigers twice in set one, first at 10-5 and later at 18-8. A 5-1 scoring spurt increased Tarleton’s edge to 14 points at 23-9. Haynes’ first kill of the match and a Tigers attack error then cinched the Texans their largest set victory of the evening.
In set two, Tarleton scored four-or-more points in succession three times to build a commanding advantage. Five straight points early in the period rocketed the Texans to a 7-1 lead. Tarleton next rattled off four straight points to swell the Texas Southern deficit to nine at 11-2. The Texans then used a 7-0 scoring run – their largest of the match – to lead 19-4 before capping the set with two straight points.
Tarleton quickly ensured the match would not extend beyond the three-set minimum in the third-and-final frame of the contest. Three kills and two of Brannon’s game and season-high four service aces staked Tarleton to a 6-1 lead. Texas Southern later clawed back to tie the set twice at 16-16 and 17-17 but Tarleton closed the show with an 8-2 run.
The Texans are now 4-2 in road games this fall with the victory. The match versus the Tigers marked Tarleton’s 11th consecutive contest away from home. Tarleton concludes its 13-game road trip against Stephen F. Austin on Oct. 2 before returning to Wisdom Gym on Oct. 7 for its WAC home-opener vs. Lamar. The Texans are scheduled to play five home matches throughout October.