Texans win Division I debut over Louisiana Tech in doubleheader split

TSU Sports Information
Tarleton volleyball made history Friday evening by sweeping Louisiana Tech in its opening match, making it the first Division I vs. Division I win in university history.
Selby Draker
Amber Strange

NACOGDOCHES – Tarleton volleyball made history Friday by sweeping Louisiana Tech in its opening match, making it the first Division I vs. Division I win in university history.

The Texans played a doubleheader, hosted by Stephen F. Austin, and fell to the host Ladyjacks in the tournament finale to finish with a two-game split.

The Texans started their first match with a back-and-forth fight between the Lady Techsters. After Tarleton went on an eight-point run in the middle of the opening set, Louisiana Tech battled back but the Texans held off the Lady Techsters to take the set 25-21. The second set was another close battle with Tarleton jumping out to a 15-7 lead and finishing out the set with a 10-9 run and take a commanding 2-0 lead in the match.

Tarleton came out hot in the last set, outlasting the Lady Techsters 25-16. The Texans posted a .343 hitting percentage for the last set totaling 15 kills.

Amber Strange led the charge in the Division I debut win with 15 kills, with freshman Selby Draker coming in just behind her with 11. Kayla Brannon (19) and Melina Maldonado (18) paced the offense with 37 assists and led the Texans to a .252 team hitting percentage while Emma Halcomb (14) and Amber Strange (11) led the team with 25 digs. Strange recorded her first career double-double while also establishing a new career high in digs.

In their second match of the doubleheader, the Texans battled it out with SFA but fell short 3-1. It was the second straight match in as many hours for the Texans and the season opener for SFA. After Lauren Kersey got the first kill of the first set, Tarleton fell behind the Ladyjacks. SFA jumped out early and went on to take the set, 25-18.

The Texans continued their run at the end of the first set and came out explosive in the second set. Hitting .517 for the set, the Texans could not be stopped outlasting SFA 25-15.

Tarleton had trouble defending the middle in the third and fourth sets and fell to SFA 25-8 in set 3 and 25-15 in set 4.

Amber Strange (16), Lauren Kersey (11), and Carmen Kinsey (10) recorded 37 kills to give Tarleton a strong showing against SFA, who went 32-3 last season and made the NCAA Tournament. Kayla Brannon dominated in assists compiling 30 throughout the match.

Tarleton will opened WAC play Monday against Grand Canyon in Phoenix, Arizona. The Texans will be home for the first time this season Feb. 1-2 when they will host California Baptist in the Wisdom Volleyball Gym.

Texans fall in WAC volleyball opener against GCU

PHOENIX – Tarleton opened its WAC debut in a loss to Grand Canyon in Phoenix, Arizona, Monday night. The Texans fell in three straight sets.

The Texans (1-2) fell short to the Lopes with 18-25, 19-25, and 17-25 set losses. Amber Strange came out dominant again with 11 kills and led all players in total attacks, while Kayla Brannon led all players in hitting percentage at .667.

In the opening set, Tarleton led 7-6 coming out strong to start the set. The Texans went back-and-forth with the Lopes until they were tied 13-13 when the Lopes took the lead and eventually the win.

Kayla Brannon
Ana Costas

The second set vaguely mimicked the first set with the back-and-back and back flow of the set. Amber Strange was the first player to hit double digits in kills for the night. The Texans tried to battle it out in the end but ended up falling short 19-25.

The Lopes struggled beginning the third set but ultimately overpowered the Texans 16 kills to 6 to take the match in a three-set sweep.

Ana Costas was the second highest leader in digs for the night with 17 and Natalya Chatham, Brianna Rhodes, and Lauren Kersey combined for 7 blocks.

Kayla Brannon had another offensive standout leading the Texans in assists with 18 and leading all players in hitting percentage.