Tarleton State takes down UC Riverside in Pam Littleton Classic day one


STEPHENVILLE – Texans defeat the Highlanders of UC Riverside to complete the first day of the Dr. Pam Littleton Classic.  

Tarleton State went head-to-head with UC Riverside to close out day one of the second annual Dr. Pam Littleton Classic. The loyal members of Texan Nation filled Wisdom Volleyball Gym for the first match of the tournament for the Purple and White. 

In set one, the Texans were first on the board after a kill by Emma Burke. Megan Hodges followed up the play with a service ace to put up another point for Tarleton State. The Highlanders replied with a kill from Sydnee Rowe. A kill from Rajini Fitzmaurice added the third point to the board for the Purple and White. Delaney Tate put down a kill making the score 5-3 but a service error from UCR tallied a fourth point for the Texans. Both teams continued a kill for kill pattern for the majority of the set. A kill from Sophia Ewalefo put the Highlanders in the lead where they remained for the duration of the first stanza. A final kill from Ewalefo tallied the set point for UC Riverside with a 25-23 final. 

In the second frame, the Highlanders were first on the board, but the Texans responded with back-to-back kills from Burke and Allison Bryant. UC Riverside saw a five-score run until an attack error from the Highlanders broke the streak. Another kill from Bryant started a five-score run for the Texans after Melina Maldonaldo Ortiz tallied two service aces for the team and another kill from Bryant put Tarleton State in the lead. A service error from the Purple and White evened the score for UCR and a kill from Ewalefo put the Highlanders ahead. Fitzmaurice, Burke and Breanna McDonough put up three consecutive points for Tarleton State to regain the lead, 16-13. The Texans held the lead for the remainder of the stanza after a couple of errors from UCR and kills from Fitzmaurice and Schirpik finalized the set 25-20 with the Purple and White on top.

Fitzmaurice claimed the first point of set three for the Texans with a kill. UC Riverside replied with back-to-back kills from Tate to take the lead 2-1 but a kill from Burke tied the frame. An error from the Highlanders accompanied by Burke’s second kill of the set put Tarleton State ahead 4-2. The Purple and White held the lead for the majority of the set until a kill from Beatriz Silva tied the stanza. The Highlanders and the Texans battled point for point but a kill from Fitzmaurice gave Tarleton State the lead. Bryant followed with a kill of her own and a block from Burke and Bryant put up the set point for the Purple and White ending the frame, 25-22.

UC Riverside saw the first three points of the fourth and final set after an error from the Texans and back-to-back kills from Hunter Thomas. Tarleton State replied with three kills of their own, two from Burke and one from Bryant. A kill from Tate gave the Highlanders the lead, 5-4. UCR held the lead until a kill from Bryant tallied the 13th point for Tarleton State, putting the Texans in the lead. UC Riverside regained the lead after an error from the Purple and White followed by a kill from Ewalefo. A back and forth set saw both teams take turns leading the scoreboard. An error from the Highlanders put the Texans up 21-19. UCR tied the score with a kill from Tate followed by an error from Tarleton State. Grayson Schirpik put the Purple and White back in the lead with a kill and Megan Hodges tallied the 25th point for Tarleton State with a service ace. Two kills from Tate tied the set at the 23rd point, but a kill from Fitzmaurice and an attack error from UC Riverside sealed the deal for the Texans, finalizing the match 3-1. 

Tarleton State compiled 54 kills, 63 digs, 12 blocks and seven aces on the match. Bryant contributed 16 kills to lead the team. Fitzmaurice put down 12 kills of her own and Burke ended the night with 10. Melina Maldonaldo Ortiz saw a new career-high of three aces on the match and Hodges tallied three aces as well followed by one from Matti Theurer. 

Burke led the team with six blocks for the match while Bryant compiled three and Fitzmaurice added two of her own. Hodges continued to lead the Texans with 26 assists on the night. Maldonaldo Ortiz racked up 17 assists and Theurer totaled six on the match. Theurer led Tarleton State in digs with 20 and Hodges compiled 15 on the evening. 

The Purple and White will head into the second and final day of the Dr. Pam Littleton Classic with two matches on the schedule. On Saturday, the Texans will face the Texas Southern Tigers at 2 p.m. followed by a 6 p.m. match against the Hawks of UMES to end the tournament. 

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