SAN ANGELO – After dropping the first two sets, Tarleton sparked a thrilling comeback to beat No. 6-seed Regis and advance to the second round of the NCAA playoffs for the second time in school history.
"It was pretty intense and it was fun to be a part of," said head coach Mary Schindler. "We battled and battled and in the end we won the points we needed to win to prolong the match. In the fourth set, we started to play like ourselves. When we got into the fifth set, we felt really good about things because of the type of players we have. I'm really proud of the way we battled today and now it's time to get back to work and get ready for the next round."
With the win, Tarleton improves to 2-2 all-time in the NCAA tournament and will move on to face the winner of No. 2-seed Metro State and No. 7-seed Colorado Mesa in the second round of the tournament at 5 p.m. in San Angelo tomorrow night. Both of the potential opponents share a postseason history against the TexAnns, having played each of them over their previous two trips to the NCAA postseason.
The TexAnns, who entered the match as the No. 3 seed in the tournament, were forced to play catch up early on as Regis opened the match with six of the first seven points to take a 6-1 lead in the opening set before Hailey Roberts' first kill of the set stopped the Ranger run.
The Roberts kill shot was the beginning of a 13-10 Tarleton run to pull within two at 16-14. Despite getting within two points of a tie game on five more occasions, the TexAnns couldn't get any closer and ultimately fell in the opening set 25-22.
Tarleton built a slim lead and maintained it over most of the second set, taking a one-point lead as late as 18-17. Regis answered, however, with six straight points to take a 23-18 advantage before Hannah McManus put a halt to the Ranger run at 23-19. Tarleton got back-to-back kills from Roberts and Chandler Gow to claw back at 23-21, but Regis responded with the final two points of the set to take a 25-21 win and a 2-0 lead in the match.
With their backs against the wall, Tarleton's resilience came out in full force in the third set.
The teams opened the set by splitting the first 20 point to a 10-10 tie before Autumn Taylor landed a kill shot for the first of four unanswered points to push Tarleton's lead to a match-high four points at 14-10. Regis answered with a surge of its own, but the TexAnns continued to fight and the set went to a tie score seven more times over the rest of the set to force extra points at 25-25.
A Regis error and an Autumn Taylor kill shot kept Tarleton's playoff run alive with a 27-25 win.
In the fourth set, Tarleton continued to battle back as the TexAnns were forced to come from behind once again after Regis built at 15-11 lead over the opening 29 points. Autumn Taylor started the rally with a kill shot that got a 5-1 TexAnn surge under way to even things up at 16-16.
Tarleton took a 19-18 lead on a Hannah McManus kill and never looked back as the TexAnns went on to take the set 25-23 to force a decisive fifth set.
The final set was the first one in which the TexAnns were dominant from the get-go.
An Abby Mackey kill and two straight errors from Regis put Tarleton up 3-0. The TexAnns rode the wave of momentum and went on to lead by as many as five at 13-8. Regis tried to claw back with two of the next three points, but the TexAnns would have none of it as Autumn Taylor sent the TexAnns into the second round with her 20th kill of the afternoon.
Taylor's 20-kill performance marked a career high for the senior out of Pearland. She hit .204 for the afternoon with four digs and a block, as well as landing the set-winning kill in each of Tarleton's wins for the match.
Roberts (19) and McManus (12) also topped the double-figure plateau in kills while Roberts accounted for a career high 30 digs to lead the team. Jordyn Keamo also had a double-double effort with 41 assists and 13 digs. Adrianna Knutsonposted 27 digs on the defensive end.
A live broadcast can be heard in Stephenville on KXTR 100.7 FM The Planet or online through a live feed, which can be found on the volleyball schedule page at