COURTESY: Arkansas State
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (9/6/14) – The Arkansas State volleyball team dropped a 3-1 (15-25, 19-25, 25-18, 20-25) decision to Ole Miss before winning a thrilling match against rival Memphis 3-2 (25-23, 22-25, 25-22, 29-31, 16-14) in the Memphis Invitational at Elma Roane Fieldhouse.
With the match tied 2-2, A-State (2-4) and Memphis (2-4) battled back-and-forth in the fifth and final set to a 6-6 tie before Memphis used a 3-0 run to take a 9-6 lead and force an A-State timeout. The Red Wolves responded with a 3-0 run to tie the set up at 9-9 and eventually had match point at 14-12 after a Kariana Castanon-Hill and Kelsey Reisblock. Memphis tied the set up at 14-14 before a service error and Castanon-Hill kill gave the Red Wolves a 16-14 set win and 3-2 match win.
The Red Wolves came out of the gate strong in the nightcap against Memphis after kills from Castanon-Hill and Reis gave A-State an early 6-1 lead that forced a Tigers’ timeout. Arkansas State extended the lead to six points at 17-11 after another Reis kill, but Memphis stormed back and eventually took the lead in the first set at 20-19. After the set was tied 21-21, A-State used a 4-2 run, capped by a Castanon-Hill and Reis block, to earn the 25-23 set victory and take a 1-0 lead.
A-State lost the second set by a score of 25-22, but bounced back to take a 12-9 lead in the third set. Memphis battled back to tie the set up and both teams went back and forth until the set was tied 20-20. The Red Wolves ended the set on a 5-2 run and earned the set point on an Anna Murphy and Drew Jones block. The fourth set featured 22 ties before Memphis was able to secure the 31-29 set win after an A-State attack error and kill to tie the match at 2-2 before the fifth set dramatics.
“This was a very intense match against our rival,” A-State volleyball coach David Rehr said. “This win could be a turning point for our team. I have to give Memphis a bunch of credit because this was one that could have gone either way. I’m very proud of the way our team fought and how hard they played throughout the match.”
Sarah Kemp registered 20 kills to lead the Red Wolves while Mallory Warrington added her sixth consecutive double-double (55 assists and 21 digs). Markie Schaedig tallied 37 digs for a career high and Reis had nine total blocks to lead A-State. Coming into the match A-State had 17 blocks through five games as a team, but recorded 17 blocks against the Tigers.
Kemp and Jones earned all-tournament honors for their play during the Memphis Invitational. Kemp tallied 58 kills for a 4.83 kills per set average and also added 28 digs, four blocks, and two service aces. Jones recorded 37 kills on a .312 hitting percentage and also registered 17 digs and five blocks.
Trailing 2-0 in the early match vs. Ole Miss (7-0), A-State took an early 3-0 lead in the third set after a Jones kill, but the Rebels came back to take a 10-8 lead. The Red Wolves responded with a 5-0 run, capped by another Jones kill to take a 13-10 lead and A-State wouldn’t trail the rest of the set. With the score 19-18 in favor of Arkansas State, the Red Wolves used a 6-0 run, capped by a Warrington service ace, to take a 25-18 set victory and close the gap in the match to 2-1.
The Rebels felt the pressure and opened the fourth set strong on a 12-6 run, but A-State was able to cut the deficit to three at 16-13. Ole Miss struck back with a 4-0 run to take a 20-13 lead and went on to win the set 25-20 and take the match by a score of 3-1. Ole Miss never trailed in the first set on its way to a 25-15 win and the Red Wolves couldn’t overcome the Rebels’ attack in the second set as Ole Miss took the set 25-19 to earn a 2-0 edge in the match.
“We squandered an opportunity in the beginning of the match by not playing well,” Rehr added. “We finally started playing well, but it was too late to make a difference.”
Kemp set a new career high with 23 kills to lead the Red Wolves and Jones added 14 kills on a .382 hitting percentage. Warrington handed out 42 assists and registered 10 digs to record her fifth consecutive double-double to open the season. Defensively, Schaedig led the team with 23 digs, while Murphy and Reis each had a block solo.
Arkansas State travels to the SIU-Edwardsville Tournament this upcoming weekend and opens with in-state opponent UAPB Friday Sept. 12, at 4 p.m.