STEPHENVILLE – Texans open conference play with an action-packed, four-set win over Utah Valley.
The Purple and White kicked off conference play with a 3-1 win over Utah Valley in Wisdom Gym on Thursday night. The Texans hit a five-match win streak, the longest winning streak since March 8, 2020, after a win over Dixie State.
In their first conference match of the season, the Texans compiled 57 digs, 52 kills, 40 assists, and four aces. Emma Burke led the Purple and White with 13 kills on the match. Allison Bryant followed with 12 kills and Breanna McDonough with nine. Rajini Fitzmaurice earned two of the four aces for Tarleton State along with one from Burke and one from Charlize Ching. Burke also led the team in blocks with five. Grayson Schirpik compiled three and McDonough contributed two.
Megan Hodges leads the Texans with 22 assists for the match. Ching racked up 11 of her own and Matti Theurer saw three. Theurer leads the team in digs with 11 for the night followed by 10 from Isabel Gonzaba and Schirpik with nine.
The Purple and White are currently 10-5 overall and 1-0 in conference. Utah Valley is now 3-9 overall and 0-1 in conference.
In the first set, the Wolverines saw the first two points on the board with a kill from Hailey Cuff and an error from the Texans. Several errors from Utah Valley paired with a couple of kills from McDonough and a kill from Melina Maldonado Ortiz tied the set at 5-5. A block from Kendra Nock and Avery Shewell put up the sixth point for UVU followed by an ace from Shewell to make the score 7-5 for the Wolverines. An error from the visitors followed by a block from Burke and Schirpik evened the score for the Texans at 8-8. Burke and Schirpik put Tarleton State ahead 10-8 with back-to-back kills. A pair of kills and a block from the Wolverines gave UVU the lead until Burke responded with a kill to tie the stanza. Tori Ellis put down a kill for the 12th point. After a four-score run from Utah Valley, Burke laid down another kill and Bryant contributed with a kill of her own to make the score 17-14. The Wolverines kept the heat coming leaving the Texans down to finalize the set 25-18.
Tarleton State claimed the first two points in the second set with a kill from Bryant followed by a block from McDonough and Burke. The defense for the Wolverines blocked an attack from the Texans to tally their first point. An error from the Purple and White and an ace from Caleigh Vagana saw the set tied at 3-3. McDonough put down a kill to regain the lead for Tarleton State, where they stayed for the remainder of the frame. Kills from Fitzmaurice, Madison Frank, and Schirpik, followed a block from Burke and Schirpik made the score 9-6 for the Texans. A pair of kills from Burke and Bryant accompanied by a ball handling error from Utah Valley tallied the next three points for Tarleton State. A kill from Vagana put up the ninth point for UVU but an error from the Wolverines and a block from McDonough and Burke saw the Purple and White up, 14-9. Abbbie Medeiros put up point 10 for Utah Valley but Burke responded with another kill. A pair of kills from Kalea Kennedy saw points 17 and 18 for UVU but another pair of kills from Burke and an error from the Wolverines put the Texans up 24-18. Vagana tallied the final point of the set for Utah Valley and a kill from Bryant closed out the frame with the Purple and White on top.
In the third set, UVU sat 3-0 on the board until and a service error put up the first point for Tarleton State. A block from Burke and Fitzmaurice followed by kills from McDonough and Burke and an error from the Wolverines saw the Texans take the lead 5-3. Three kills from Utah Valley and some defensive work from UVU regained the lead for the visitors. Tarleton State put the pedal to the metal and went on a seven-score run with a kill and ace from Burke, two kills from Fitzmaurice, a kill from Frank and a pair of errors from the Wolverines, making the score 12-7. Tori Ellis tallied the eighth point for Utah Valley with a kill, but McDonough matched the energy and tallied one of her own. After an offensive error from the Purple and White, the Texans put up another five consecutive points leaving the Wolverines down by nine. Two kills and some defensive help from UVU put up three points for Utah Valley, making the score 12-18. Utah Valley saw two more kills and an error from the Texans for their final points. A couple of errors from the Wolverines and kills from Schirpik, Burke, Bryant and Fitzmaurice ended the stanza 25-15 for Tarleton State.
In the fourth and final set, Bryant put the Texans on the board first with a kill followed by another from Fitzmaurice. Vagana put up point one for Utah Valley, but Burke replied with a kill to see the third point for Tarleton State. Three errors from the Purple and White and three kills from UVU gave the Wolverines the lead, 7-6. Tarleton State came back with two kills from Bryant and an error from Utah Valley to see the Texans up 9-7. Two kills from McDonough saw points 11 and 12 on the board for Tarleton State. A kill from Cuff and an error from the Texans tied the set 12-12. A kill from Fitzmaurice and an ace from Ching saw Tarleton State ahead. The Purple and White held the lead for the remainder of the set with a quick trigger offense and a strong defense. Another kill from Fitzmaurice and a block from Frank and Schirpik tallied the 15th and 16thpoints for the Texans. Frank out down a kill for point 18 and Bryant claimed the next two points for Tarleton State. Several errors from the Wolverines and two final kills from Burke saw a final frame of 25-18 with the Purple and White victorious.
Tarleton State will be back in action in Wisdom Volleyball Gym on Sept. 23 at 1 p.m. CT as the Texans host Seattle U.