SAN ANGELO - With a pair of sweeps over South Dakota Mines and St. Edward's on Saturday, the TexAnn volleyball team (4-0) is off to its best start to a season in 30 years.
With three sweeps in the first four matches of the season, Tarleton won 12 of the 13 sets played so far this season. It marks the first time since 1986 that Tarleton opened the season with just one set loss in the first four matches. The 1986 team, which started 5-0, won their first match 2-1 before reeling off four straight sweeps of 3-0, 2-0, 2-0, and 2-0.
The TexAnns' 4-0 start is the second consecutive four-game perfect opening to a season and just the third time since 2000 to start with four straight wins.
Match 1: Tarleton 3, South Dakota Mines 0
In the first-ever meeting between the TexAnns and the newest member of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, Tarleton wasted no time introducing themselves to their newest regional rival.
Tarleton rolled over the Hardrockers 25-11, 25-22, and 25-16 en route to their second sweep in the first three matches of the season.
After the teams opened the match by trading the first two points, a kill by Rebecca Dauenhauer started a string of five consecutive Tarleton points to force an early Mines timeout at 6-1. The TexAnns' five points came off kills from Dauenhauer, Chandler Gow, and Autumn Taylor as well as back-to-back service aces fromHailey Roberts that forced the Hardrockers to talk things over.
Out of the break, Tarleton continued its dominance with an 8-3 run to extend the lead to 14-4 and force the Hardrockers to burn another timeout. The TexAnns outscored Mines 11-7 down the stretch to cap off the win in the opening set. Tarleton hit .458 as a team in the opening game while holding the Rockers to a .143 clip.
The second set proved to be a different story as Mines jumped out to a 16-9 lead after the first 25 points, forcing head coach Mary Schindler to regroup with a timeout. Out of the break, Mines served one into the net to bring Tarleton within 10-16 and give the serve over to Tarleton.
Tarleton scored eight of the next 11 points to pull within one at 18-19 and force a Mines timeout. After that, the TexAnns kept pounding away with five of the next eight points to take its second lead of the game at 23-22.
A Roberts kill shot put Tarleton up to game point before a Hardrocker attack error sealed the deal for the TexAnns.
Tarleton carried its momentum into the third set as Jordyn Keamoopened the game with three consecutive service aces for a 3-0 Tarleton advantage. Tarleton extended the lead with six of the next nine points for a 9-2 lead before Mines scored 13 of the next 24 points to cut Tarleton's lead down to five at 20-15.
Tarleton would have no more of that, however, as the TexAnns got a kill from Roberts, a block from Dauenhauer, two Rocker errors, and a game-ending service ace from Keamo to take the set and the match.
Keamo led the way with five service aces in the match to go along with six digs and 35 assists. Adrianna Knutson recorded her second straight 20-dig performance as the sophomore libero led the way with 21.
Hailey Roberts came up just shy of her third straight double-double to open the season as the junior landed 13 kills and had nine digs.
Match 2: Tarleton 3, St. Edward's 0
Tarleton capped off its third sweep in four games with a 25-20, 26-24, 25-17 win over Heartland Conference rival St. Edward's in the tournament finale.
Tarleton kept the good times rolling in the opening set of the tournament finale as Tarleton got two kills from Gow, one each from Roberts and Dauenhauer, and another ace from Keamo to jump out to a 5-0 lead.
St. Edward's rallied, however, with 20 of the next 39 points to take a 20-19 lead late in the set.
Hannah McManus and Roberts stepped up to stop the run for Tarleton as McManus landed a kill and a service ace for back-to-back points and a 21-20 lead. Roberts added a kill shot on the ensuing play for a 22-20 advantage before the Hilltoppers called their final timeout.
Out of the break, a Hilltopper error, a combo block from Dauenhauer and Roberts, and a game-ending kill shot from Roberts capped off the 6-0 Tarleton run for the 25-20 win.
In the second set, Tarleton overcame another late St. Edward's lead as the Hilltoppers led 18-14 after the first 32 points of the set. Tarleton scored eight of the next 11 to lead 22-21 before St. Edward's answered with a 3-1 run to advance to game point.
McManus answered the call with a kill shot to even the score at 24-24. After a St. Edward's error gave Tarleton the advantage, the sophomore from Caldwell got her number called again and notched her first career set-ending point with a kill off a dime from Keamo.
The momentum of the set-two thriller stayed with the Purple and White to begin the third set as Tarleton scored 13 of the first 19 points to lead 13-6 out of the gate.
After St. Edward's pulled within five at 20-15, an attack error swung the momentum back to the TexAnns at 21-15. Tarleton got back-to-back kills from McManus and Gow before the Hilltoppers scored their final two points of the match. Abby Mackey landed a kill for Tarleton's 24th point of the set before a St. Edward's error delivered the match to Tarleton.
Led by 16 kills from Roberts, Tarleton also got a pair of career-high offensive performances from McManus and Gow. McManus landed 11 kills on a .421 hitting percentage while Gow landed 10 kill shots on a .348 percentage.
Roberts added 12 digs for her third double-double in the opening four games while Keamo dished out 40 assists and had 16 digs for the first double-double of her Tarleton career. Knutson led the way in digs for the third straight game with 19.
Tarleton will head back home and prepare for next weekend's TexAnn Invitational at Wisdom Gym. The tournament begins with a7 p.m. showdown with Lubbock Christian on Thursday.