Tarleton State dominates first day of Blazer Classic with back-to-back sweeps


BIRMINGHAM, Alabama – Tarleton State finishes day one of the Blazer Classic with two wins.

In day one of the Blazer Classic, Tarleton State Volleyball swept the Lions of Texas A&M-Commerce and the host, the UAB Blazers.


The Texans kicked off their run in Birmingham with a victory over the Lions of Texas A&M-Commerce. 

In the first set, the Lions tallied two points on the board before Tarleton State found their way with a kill from Allison Bryant. The Purple and White were down 11-7 right before a 6-0 score run that put the Texans in the lead. Three of the six points can be attributed to three kills that were put down by Rajini Fitzmaurice. From that point on, Tarleton State held onto the lead as two kills from Emma Burke ended the first set.

Burke claimed the first point of the set for the Texans with a kill. The first two points on the board came for the Lions from attack errors made by the Purple and White. After an attack error from the Lions, the score was 2-2. Texas A&M-Commerce led most of the match until a four-point run by Tarleton State put the Texans in the lead, 19-17. From there, both teams battled back and forth but the Purple and White came out on top 25-23 with a kill from Bryant to finish out set two.

In set three, the Lions claimed the first two points with a kill from Kitana Tuufuli and a service ace from Avery Wilks. The Texans quickly put up two points of their own with a kill from Fitzmaurice and an error from Texas A&M-Commerce. In another back-and-forth frame, the Lions took the lead for a good portion of the set until two kills from Burke and a kill from Fitzmaurice put Tarleton State in the lead. The Purple and White tallied points 24 and 25 with kills from Kenzie Kellerman and Megan Hodges for their first, but not their final sweep of the day.

Tarleton State totaled 55 kills on the match with 20 in the first set, 16 in set two and a third set that saw 19. Bryant led the team with 15 kills on the match, followed by Burke with 13 and 10 from Fitzmaurice. Burke led the team with three aces and Matti Theurer compiled two aces for the match. Breanna McDonough and Burke tied for most blocks on the team with three a piece and Madison Frank claimed two blocks as well.

Hodges compiled 24 assists to lead the team, Charlize Ching sat second with 21, her new season-high, and Theurer tallied five of her own. Theurer led the Texans with 22 digs accompanied by 11 from Fitzmaurice and 10 from Ching, her new season-high. 


In their second match of the day, Tarleton State went head-to-head with the host, the UAB Blazers. 

Set one began with the Blazers taking the first point after a kill from Jay Collins. A kill from Fitzmaurice helped the Texans find their way to the board. UAB tallied another point with a kill from Kelsey Smith. Tarleton State quickly responded by adding three consecutive points to the board with kills from Burke, Bryant and Mary Kate Stasevich. The Blazers and the Texans took turns leading the set. Points 22 and 23 came from kills by Bryant and Frank quickly accompanied by an ace from Burke for the 24th point. The final point of the match was claimed by McDonough for her eighth kill on the day. The Texans finished the first set 25-23.

The second set began with a kill from Burke followed by a kill from McDonough. The Blazers made their way to the board with a kill from Mia Reese. Similar to the prior set, both teams went back and forth taking the lead. The Texans saw five consecutive points as they tallied the 17th point, making the score 17-14. The final eight points of the set come from eight kills and an ace, four of those kills coming from Fitzmaurice. At the end of set two, Tarleton State ended up on top, 25-21.

In the third and final set of the match, the Blazers were first to the board but the Purple and White quickly matched the point with a kill from McDonough. Tarleton State held the lead for the remainder of the stanza. After another consecutive five points from the Texans, the Purple and White led by seven points. The Blazers closed the gap with a 4-0 score run, but still trailed behind Tarleton State 11-8. The remainder of the set saw seven kills from the Texans and nine from UAB. A final kill from Burke ended the match and the day for Tarleton State with the Texans finishing 25-19 over the Blazers and 2-0 on the day. 

Throughout the duration of the match, the Purple and White tallied 50 kills, 19 in set one, 20 in the second set and 11 in set three. Fitzmaurice led the Texans with 14 kills for the match, followed by Bryant who compiled 10 against the Blazers. Burke led the team with three aces, accompanied by two from Isabel Gonzaba. Frank led Tarleton State with three blocks with Fitzmaurice in second with two blocks on the match.

Hodges continues to lead the Texans in assists with 23 for the match accompanied by 16 from Melina Maldonaldo Ortiz and four from Theurer. Theurer leads the team in digs with 15 against for the match with Fitzmaurice and Gonzaba tied for second with eight digs each.

The Texans will take on the Crimson Tide of Alabama on September 9 at 11 a.m.

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