Hot-hitting Texans down UC San Diego in Pacific Tournament finale
STOCKTON, Calif. – Tarleton recorded a season-best hitting percentage in their final game at the Pacific Invitational Saturday afternoon and got back in the win column with 3-1 victory over UC San Diego.
The offensive onslaught came on the strength of a season-high 55 team assists with Kayla Brannon (32) and Melina Maldonado (18) combining for 50. Of the .329 team hit percentage, the Texans had seven different players record at least four kills on a .250 hit percentage or higher.
Carmen Kinsey (.267) led the Texans with 16 kills while Lauren Kersey (.333) also cracked double figures with 11 kills. For Kinsey, it marks the first double-digit kill performance of the season while Kersey tops 10 kills for the fourth time in six matches.
The Tarleton starting middle crew, led by nine kills from Brianna Rhodes in her first start of the season, combined for 17 kills – nine from Rhodes (.421) and eight from Lorin McNeil (.467).
In the opening set, San Diego snatched a quick 8-6 lead before Kinsey's second kill of the afternoon sparked a 6-0 Tarleton run to turn the set on its ear and give the Texans a 12-8 lead. The Texans would hold the lead throughout the set and ultimately claim the set 25-20 on a service error from the Tritons.
Kinsey got things started in the second set with a kill for the first point and Tarleton took advantage to the tune of a 4-1 lead. The Tritons would rally to tie the set on several occasions, even as late as 17-17, but would never take the lead as the Texans had an answer at every turn. A kill from Lorin McNeil gave Tarleton an 18-17 lead and was the beginning of an 8-3 clinching run from Tarleton.
After a third set of which will not be spoken, Tarleton put the match away in the fourth.
The teams stayed tight through 9-9 before Kinsey – once again – sparked the Texans with the go-ahead kill shot to take a 10-9 lead. Kinsey started a 7-1 run for Tarleton to build a 16-10 lead. The Texans went on to cruise to a 25-19 win.
Tarleton will head across the country one more time next weekend as the Texans head to Stony Brook, New York for a three-game tournament against host Stony Brook, as well as St. Thomas and Yale.