Texan Volleyball grabs two wins on opening day of Dr. Pam Littleton Classic


STEPHENVILLE – Tarleton returned to Wisdom Gym on Friday and earned two victories to kick off the Dr. Pam Littleton Classic.
The Texans (4-1) defeated Southeastern Louisiana (4-1) in the morning tournament opener and followed it up with a sweep of Tennessee State (1-3) in the evening match.
Match 1: Tarleton 3, Southeastern Louisiana 1 (25-20, 26-24, 21-25, 25-19)
The story of match one boils down to Tarleton’s resilience.
A kill from SLU’s Karlee Wilkerson in set two gave the Lady Lions the 24-20 lead and had the Texans on their heels with the Lions a point away from knotting the match up at a set apiece.
The Texans immediately responded with a 6-0 run to take the set 26-24 and take a commanding 2-0 lead in the match. The Lady Lions helped the run get started with a service error and an attack error. Grayson Schirpik followed with a service ace, Megan Hodges skipped a ball over for a kill, Schirpik landed another ace and the set was ended on a block from the true freshman duo of Ailie Hair and Breanna McDonough.

SLU did not lose all hope, storming back for a set three win. The set stayed within two points until SLU went on a 5-0 run to take a 17-12 lead. Tarleton later cut the lead to two when Hodges landed a service ace to make it 21-19 but the Lions ripped off three straight points to take the set.

Hair landed a career-high and match-high 19 kills as SLU had no answer for the freshman all match. She hit .783 with 23 total attacks. McDonough followed that up with 12 kills and Schirpik landed 11. Hodges finished with 27 assists while Melina Maldonado had 23. Ana Costas led all players with 20 digs.

SLU outhit the Texans slightly, landing .289 of their attacks compared to Tarleton’s .281. The Texans hit a commanding .464 in the set four clincher.

Match 2: Tarleton 3, Tennessee State 0 (25-21, 25-19, 25-15)

Tarleton swept its third opponent of the season in the nightcap vs. Tennessee State. They hit .354 and held the Tigers to just .128.

Set one was tight as Tarleton could not pull away. The Tigers held a 21-19 late, but once again a late run helped Tarleton. Another 6-0 run, this time highlighted by two kills from Hair and a service ace from Hodges paved the way for a Texan set one win.

Tennessee State got out to a 7-2 lead in set two and held it until Tarleton went on a 12-2 run. They landed five straight kills, two from McDonough, two from Megan Haynes and one from Brianna Rhodes. The Texans led 16-12 at the end of the run and never relinquished the lead.

Set three was all Tarleton as the only lead Tennessee State held was at 2-0. The Texans hit .483 in the set to help complete the sweep.

Haynes and Hair led the way with 11 kills each. Hair hit .733 on the match, continuing her dominating presence at the net. Hodges and Maldonado paced the Texans with 17 and 16 kills respectively. Costas finished with 19 digs.

The Texans will return to action in the tournament finale tomorrow at 5 p.m. vs. Prairie View A&M. The match can be streamed on ESPN+.

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