Abilene – The Texans took down the Wildcats for the second time this season to head into the WAC Tournament as the sixth seed.
Tarleton State claimed the first two sets 26-24 and 25-17. ACU took set three with a 25-22 final and the Texans closed out the match, stealing the fourth set, 25-19.
Tarleton State is now 16-14 overall and 7-9 in conference after putting down the Wildcats. ACU is now 11-17 overall and 6-10 in conference play. The victory over Abilene Christian will see the Texans going into the conference tournament as the sixth seed and ACU as eighth.
Rajini Fitzmaurice led the team in kills and tied her season high (22). Kenzie Kellerman and Fitzmaurice each added three aces for the Texans. Megan Hodges amassed 24 assists on the match and Melina Maldonado Ortiz compiled 19.
Allison Bryant led the defense with three blocks and Emma Burke and Madison Frank each tallied two. The two-time reigning WAC Libero of the Week, Matti Theurer, compiled 29 digs for a new season high. Kellerman added 12 digs for the Texans and Maldonado Ortiz ended with 10.
The opening frame saw Tarleton State first on the board with a kill from Breanna McDonough. The first set saw seven lead changes and nine ties. Down by six points with a 19-13 score in favor of the home team, a 7-0 scoring run from the Texans claimed the lead. With 22 on the board for the Wildcats, the visitors took the next three consecutive points to lead by two. Abilene Christian tallied two to tie the set but an error from the home team and a kill from Grayson Schirpik sealed the deal on the first set for a 26-24 final in favor of Tarleton State.
The Wildcats took the first point to start off the second set. ACU held the lead until point seven when the Texans took off with a five-score run to see the home team down by three at 10-7. The remainder of the set was controlled by Tarleton State with a 6-0 run to put the Texans ahead by eight points. Three more points saw visitors up, 23-13. Fitzmaurice and Schirpik closed out the set with a pair of kills to see a 25-17 ending.
Abilene Christian took the first point to start off the third set but the next four were claimed by Tarleton State. A 4-0 scoring-run for Tarleton State showed the Texans up 15-10. At point 18 for the visitors, the Wildcats took the next seven points to take the lead at 21-18. The Texans didn’t back down and tied the set at the 22nd point but the next three went to the home team to close out set three at 25-22.
The fourth and final set was a neck and neck battle for the first six points with six ties. A block from Burke and Bryant put Tarleton State by one and they held the lead the remainder of the time. With the home team down by one point at 20-19, a pair of kills from Fitzmaurice began a 5-0 run for the Texans to see a 25-19 final set and a 3-1 final for the night in Moody.
The Texans will make history as they will appear in the WAC Volleyball Tournament for the first time in Division l program history. Tarleton State will head back to Orem, Utah, to compete in the tournament on the Utah Valley campus. The Purple and White will take on UTRGV in the first round Thursday at 2 p.m. CT. All WAC Tournament matches will be broadcasted via ESPN+.