STEPHENVILLE – Tarleton State wasted no time in sweeping the Texas A&M-Commerce Lions out of a packed Wisdom Gym in the Lone Star Conference opener and home debut Tuesday night.
“It was really impressive to have that many people come out to our game and for us to play well,” said head coach Mary Schindler. “We have so many new kids on the floor and for them to respond to the crowd and feed off of them is exactly what you want as a coach. Plus, we played well so hopefully the crowds will keep coming back. It was exactly what you hope for in a big-time college volleyball match.”
In front of one of the largest recorded crowds in school history, the TexAnns dominated the Lions from the get-go and won their first game via sweep of the season and improved to 5-1 and 1-0 in conference action.
The game started in a dead heat over the first eight points, but a kill by LSC Offensive Player of the Week Hailey Roberts, followed by three straight service aces from the true freshman, pushed Tarleton to an 8-5 advantage.
After Commerce battled back to knot the score at 15-15, Jasmyne Brown stopped the Lion run and gave Tarleton the lead for the final time at 16-15. The Brown kill started a 10-4 Tarleton run that was capped off by three straight kills from Roberts, Emily Medlin andKenya Alexander to secure set No. 1 25-19.
In the second set, Tarleton rode an 8-2 run in the middle of the game that took the score from 8-8 to 18-10.
Commerce pulled to within 18-14, but a Roberts kill out of a Tarleton timeout turned the tide and started a 5-0 Tarleton run, served by Roberts and highlighted by a Kaitlyn White kill, two Commerce errors and a Roberts ace, gave Tarleton a 23-14 advantage. Kills from Rine and White gave the TexAnns the final two points to go up 2-0 in the match.
The final set was a battle through the first 32 points as the teams were neck-and-neck at 16-16.
A White kill, however, gave the TexAnns a momentum swing and started a 9-4 Tarleton run down the stretch to win the game 25-20 and the match 3-0.
Roberts led the team with 15 kills and recorded 11 digs for her fifth double-double of the season. Kenya Alexander also played a huge role, blasting 12 kills on 18 attacks with no errors for a team-high .667 hitting percentage, which also ties Amanda Wallace for the third-highest single-game percentage with at least 15 attacks.
For Alexander, her effort Tuesday also marks the first time since Rachel Wolf on Sept. 14, 2010 that a TexAnn has had no errors in a game with at least 15 attacks.
Tarleton will be on the road again this weekend for three games, beginning Friday night in Wichita Falls. Tarleton will play Midwestern in an LSC affair Friday at six at D.L. Ligon Coliseum and will immediately turn around and play Harding there as well in a non-conference match. They will play Cameron in Lawton, Okla. Saturday at 2 p.m.