Special to the E-T
Tarleton Sports Information
CANYON — The Tarleton volleyball team overcame a 2-0 deficit to force a fifth set, but the TexAnns would eventually run out of gas, falling to Abilene Christian (21-25, 20-25, 25-22, 25-11, 13-15) in the semifinal round of the Lone Star Conference Championship Tournament at WTAMU Fieldhouse in Canyon.
The Wildcats took an early 5-1 lead before the TexAnn were able to settle down. The TexAnns cut the Wildcat lead down to 6-5 on an assisted block from Rachel Wolf and Emily Richardson. Down 11-9, the TexAnns capped off a 3-0 run on Jessie Hartman’s dump shot that gave the TexAnns a 12-11 lead. That lead was short lived though as the Wildcats went on a 6-1 run to take a 17-13 lead, forcing Tarleton head coach Mary Domine Schindler to call a timeout. The TexAnns scored the next three points following the timeout to pull within a point, down 17-16. That would be the closest the TexAnns would get to the Wildcats after ACU scored seven of the next 12 points to take the set, 25-21.
The TexAnns took an early 2-0 lead to begin the second set, but two straight Wildcat points tied the set 2-2. ACU took a 9-5 lead after Rachel Wolf’s kill shot just missed the line for an attack error. A kill from Gracy capped off a 4-0 run, but the TexAnns still found themselves down 16-12. The TexAnns had cut the Wildcat lead down to three, but a TexAnn was called in the net and the Wildcats led 19-15. The TexAnns found themselves down 23-17 before Allison Hill’s kill from Catherine Cutbirth cut the Wildcat lead to five points, but Tarleton could not string a set of points together and the Wildcats won the set, 25-20.
Down 4-2 in the third set, Shea McBrearty’s service ace cut the deficit to one point before Richardson’s kill tied the set 4-4. Another kill from Richardson capped off the 6-0 run that gave the TexAnns an 8-4 lead. The TexAnns had a 13-9 advantage before the Wildcats rattled off four straight points to tie the set 13-13. Neither team was able to string together more than two points at a time until the TexAnns connected on three straight to take a 22-20 lead. An attack error from the Wildcats gave the TexAnns set point at 24-22 and then ACU was called for block in the net to give the TexAnns their first set, 25-22.
Tarleton began the fourth set with an early 6-2 lead thanks to a two kill shots and a solo block from Wolf. Later in the set, another kill from Richardson gave the TexAnns a 12-5 lead. Cutbirth’s kill midway through the set gave the TexAnns an eight point lead, up 16-8. The TexAnns would then go on a dominating 9-3 run to win the set 25-11 and send the match into a fifth and decisive set.
The Wildcats took an early 2-0 lead but Gracy’s kill tied the set 2-2. Both teams traded points until a 3-0 Wildcat run gave ACU a 9-7 lead. The TexAnns responded, tying the set 9-9, but the Wildcats took advantage of two TexAnn errors to regain the lead 11-9. The TexAnns took a timeout after ACU took a 12-10 lead. Out of the time out the TexAnns scored the next two points to tie the set 12-12. Despite cutting the deficit to one, down 14-13, the Wildcats prevailed on a kill from Jordan Schilling to take the set and the match.
Gracy led the TexAnns with 14 kills and Castro recorded a double-double adding 10 kills and 15 digs. Hill led the team with a season-high 27 digs and Hartman finished with 34 assists.
The TexAnns end their season with a 22-10 overall record, tying the most wins by a TexAnn team in school history. McBrearty had 13 digs on the night to give her a total of 489 on the season, breaking Tarleton’s single-season school record (479, Kim Franklin-1991).
Tarleton will now wait to see if the team earns a bid into the NCAA national tournament. The teams will be announced on Sunday, Nov. 19 at noon at www.ncaasports.com.