SAN MARCOS, Texas (11/22/19) – For the second night in a row, a Sun Belt Conference Tournament match came right down to the wire for the Arkansas State volleyball team, however, fourth-seeded Troy narrowly escaped with a tight 3-2 (26-24, 20-25, 13-25, 25-21, 19-17) win against the Red Wolves in the quarterfinals.
A-State (17-13) took advantage of 44 attack errors by the Trojans (22-8) en route to taking a 2-1 lead in the match, but Troy held on to force a fifth and saved multiple match points en route to taking the slight victory at Strahan Arena.
Timber Terrell led three players in double-digit kills for A-State with 13 on a strong .480 attack percentage. As a team, the Red Wolves saw a majority of their points come from aces (10) as well as the 44 Trojan attack errors and service errors (10). Paulina Sobolewska once again had a solid night with 12 kills while Madison Brown tallied 11 kills.
Julianna Cramer and Malgorzata Andersohn handed out 18 and 16 assists, respectively, with Andersohn also collecting 10 digs for her 13th double-double of the year. Hannah Cox also posted a double-double, dishing 10 assists to go along with 14 digs.
The Red Wolves had one of their best nights of the season at the net, tallying 15.0 total blocks as a team led by six from Josie Stanford and five from Terrell.
A-State found success behind the service line as well, firing 10 aces led by three apiece by Cox and Macey Putt.
The Scarlet and Black roared out to a 4-1 lead in the opening set, although the Trojans responded by taking five of the next six points to lead 6-5. The first set saw an astounding 18 ties and 18 lead changes before the Trojans broke loose late to take a tight 26-24 opening set. A 6-2 run late in the set proved to be key to giving Troy an early 1-0 lead in the match.
In the second set, it was Troy that started with a 4-1 lead, but A-State remained poised and claimed seven of the next nine points to take the lead for good at 8-6. That advantage grew to as much as five at 14-9 after a 6-2 run that included three aces by Stanford, Andersohn and Putt. Troy could not cut the deficit down to less than two for the remainder of the set, as A-State took the last three points on an ace by Cox and a pair of Trojan attack errors to knot up the match at a set apiece.
Through the first two sets, A-State fired six aces as a squad, while only allowing one to the Trojans.
The Red Wolves continued its momentum in a big way into the third set, opening with a 9-0 run. Halston Hiller got the Trojans on the board to make it 9-1, but two more errors by Troy forced the team to take its final timeout early with A-State ahead 11-1.
Troy could not keep the Red Wolves from scoring, seemingly, at will throughout the set despite a late 3-0 run to cut it to a 21-9 lead. The Red Wolves would cruise past the Trojans in the third, 25-13, to take a 2-1 lead in the match.
After Troy took the first point of the fourth on a kill by Julia Brooks, A-State went on a 7-3 run fueled by six Trojan errors to take a 7-4 lead. Troy regained momentum with a 5-0 run to lead 9-7 as a back-and-forth battle ensued through the remainder of the set.
Another kill by Brown tied up the set at 14 before Troy rattled off four straight points to take an 18-14 lead. The Red Wolves, however, were able to tie things up again on a pair of kills and multiple errors by the Trojans to make it 19-all. Troy regrouped late after the short run, taking six of the last eight points in the set to take a 25-21 fourth-set decision and force a winner-take-all fifth set.
The fifth set was indicative of the match as a whole – full of ties and lead changes. Troy took the opening two points before A-State battled back to tie things at 3-all. The fifth set saw a total of 10 ties and 10 lead changes as the teams battled out the extended set.
An Andersohn ace handed A-State a 7-6 lead, but the Trojans reclaimed the advantage on a kill by Ashley Guenveur. The Red Wolves then claimed seven of the next nine points to hold four set points up 14-10. Troy would hold on and save four match points en route to tying up the set at 14. A kill by Cheyenne Hayes then gave the Trojans the lead and match point up 15-14.
Kills by Terrell and Stanford helped keep the match going for Arkansas State and once again had the Red Wolves serving for the match up 16-15. A kill by Caitlin Cooper and ace by Amara Anderson then put the Trojans in the same position leading 17-16. Terrell saved the match for A-State with her 13th kill of the night, but Halston Hiller closed out the match with back-to-back kills to send the Trojans into the semifinal round.
Five players recorded double-digit kills for the Trojans on Friday night, with Hillier and Guenveur tallying 15 kills each. Guenveur also tallied a double-double with 12 digs on the night. Hayes added a double-double effort with 13 kills and 15 digs, while Brooks and Cooper added 12 and 10 kills apiece.
Anderson led all players with 58 assists, while libero Lacey Jeffcoat corralled 29 digs. Defensively, Brooks led Troy with six total blocks.
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