NCAA volleyball: UTA stuns Texas State, K-State, ISU, UK, Hogs get victories

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NCAA volleyball 11/15/2020-Holly Bonde-Kansas State volleyball
It as all hands on deck as K-State’s Holly Bonde stretches out for a ball against TCU/Scott D. Weaver photo

Texas-Arlington not only swept Texas State in the Sun Belt Conference on Saturday, but broke the Bobcats’ 17-match winning streak.

Kansas State beat TCU for its fifth Big 12 win in a row, and Kentucky and Arkansas finished their respective SEC schedules with victories.

Next up is LSU at Alabama, Sunday-Monday matches that were delayed a day. Sunday’s match is at 2 p.m. Eastern on ESPNU. 

SUN BELT — The league wrapped up regular-season (if anything this fall can be called regular) and now the teams head to Foley, Alabama, for the conference tournament that starts Wednesday.

The format is three days of pool play followed by semifinals Saturday and the championship match Sunday. Click here for all the info.

Saturday, Texas-Arlington (10-6, all in the SBC) not only won at Texas State (20-2, 15-1), but took a set off Texas State for the first time in two seasons and beat the Bobcats for the first time since 2014.

“This was a great team win against a very strong team,” UTA coach J.T. Wenger said. “We did a solid job following our game plan and executed at a high level. Our serve receive was excellent the whole match, which helped set us up for offensive success.”

Briana Brown led the Mavs, who will be the third seed in from the West, with 16 kills as she hit .344 and had two blocks and five digs. Brooke Townsend had nine kills, an assist, a block, and two digs. Devon Martinka had six kills and four blocks, Peyton Simara had six kills and five blocks, and Michaela Wright had three kills and also five blocks. 

“We will enjoy this victory on the ride home, and then turn our focus to the conference tournament,” said Wenger. “It is nice to go into the tournament with some momentum and we look to build off of that moving forward.”

Texas State, which won the West Division, hit just .096. Janell Fitzgerald led with 10 kills, three blocks, and five digs. Lauren Teske had six kills, an ace, for blocks, and eight digs.

“That was not how we anticipated the day going,” Texas State coach Sean Huiet said. “Like we said earlier, we were really excited to be in this position but we knew we had to do it with the ball, and we just did not do it today.”

With an eye on the SBC Tournament, he added that, We are hoping that this is a little bit of a wakeup call and gets us going for next week.”

BIG 12 — Brynn Carlson had 20 kills as Kansas State (10-4) got past visiting TCU (1-7) 22-25, 25-16, 25-23, 23-25, 15-11.

“I think we are growing up,” said K-State coach Susie Fritz, whose team swept TCU the day before. “The competitive composure that it takes to (win in five), that was kind of a grind, not all matches feel that way. Yesterday felt easy, today felt like a grind. Every match is a little bit different.”

Carlson hit .308 and had two assists, a block, and two digs. Aliyah Carter had 19 kills to go with a block and four digs. Abigail Archibong had 10 kills with one error in 14 attacks to hit .643 and had a dig and five blocks, one solo. Holly Bonde had eight kills, two blocks, and 14 digs, and Teana Adams-Kaonohi had three kills in eight errorless attempts, 55 assists, an ace, three blocks, and 11 digs.

Two TCU players had career highs, as Julia Adams led with 25 kills and MyKayla Myers had 16. Adams had a block and four digs. Myers hit .452 and added an ace, four digs, and seven blocks, one solo. Katie Clark had 13 kills and three blocks, and McKenzie Nichols had 56 assists, two aces, two kills, two blocks, and 13 digs.

“Our team competed hard tonight,” TCU coach Jill Kramer said. “Like many teams throughout the country we have battled adversity and been sidelined due to the pandemic. Our situation has been unique in that we haven’t competed in a match for a month. 

“Although we didn’t finish the evening with the win, I believe we did get back into a rhythm, which we can build on as we head home to take on Iowa State next weekend.” 

Iowa State (3-9) broke an eight-match losing streak with a 20-25, 25-23, 25-16, 25-14 victory over visiting Kansas (3-9).

Brooke Anderson led with 14 kills and added an ace, six blocks, and seven digs. Eleanor Holthaus had 12 kills, hit .310, and had two assists, five blocks, and 11 digs. Annie Hatch had 10 kills, two aces, a block, and four digs, and Candelaria Herrera had nine kills, three of ISU’s six aces, seven blocks,  and six digs. Abby Greiman had four kills in nine errorless swings and five blocks, and Piper Mauck had three kills, 38 assists, two digs, and two blocks, one solo. Izzy Enna had 24 digs.

Kansas, which hit .106, got 10 kills from Rachel Langs, who had four blocks, and eight kills each from Jenny Mosser and Ayah Elnady. 

SEC — Kentucky (8-0) won at Mississippi State (2-6) 25-17, 25-17, 25-16.

As the UK news release said, “Kentucky closes the 2020 season as the only undefeated team in the Southeastern Conference, and will take at least a one-match lead into the spring season. More information on the spring season will be announced at a later date by the conference office, including dates, opponents, times and television assignments.”

Kentucky hit .330. Alli Stumler led with 11 kills, two assists, an ace, and four digs. Sophie Fischer had eight kills and hit .438, and added two blocks, one solo. Madison Lilley had three kills in six errorless attempts, 31 assists, an ace, three blocks, and four digs.

State, which hit .089, got 10 kills from Gabby Waden, who had two blocks.

“This was a tough way to end our fall season, because I think the fall has been really good for this team to grow up, mature and take some steps in the right direction.,” State coach Julie Darty Dennis said. “We have seen a lot of improvement across the board, individually and as a team, and I think you can’t look at this match and really recognize that. For us to be 2-6 after this fall schedule, I think that’s something for us to be really proud of. It’s going to be important for us to go into the break and come back healthy.”

Jillien Gillen had 18 kills and 18 digs as Arkansas (6-2) beat visiting Texas A&M (4-4) 29-31, 25-20, 26-24, 25-20. Gillen added three assists, all four of the Razorbacks’ aces, and a block. Taylor Head had 12 kills and 14 digs, and Devyn Wheeler had 11 kills, four digs, and three blocks, one solo. Gracie Ryan had four kills in six errorless tries, 45 assists, two blocks, and 16 digs.

Morgan Christon led Texas A&M with 23 kills and four digs. Lauren Davis had 12 kills and Morgan Davis 10 while hitting .474 after having one error in attacks. She had three blocks, one solo. Camille Conner had four kills, 46 assists, an ace, five blocks, and 10 digs.

A&M won its first four matches of this eight-match SEC fall season and then lost the next four.

“We have work to do over the break,” A&M coach Bird Kuhn said. “The biggest part of our season is in the spring, so we have a lot of work to do. We’ll come back and get ready to compete.”

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