JONESBORO, Ark. (8/25/23) – A pair of stout defensive performances on Friday inside First National Bank Arena spurred the Arkansas State volleyball team to sweeps over Little Rock and Louisiana Tech to open the A-State Invitational.
The Red Wolves (2-0) stymied the rival Trojans (0-2) to the tune of an attack percentage of -.030 by way of 9.0 blocks in the opener. A-State followed in the nightcap by holding the Bulldogs (0-2) to a .035 clip.
In the two contests, A-State combined to hold the opposition to a hitting percentage of just .005 while knocking down a dozen blocks. The Red Wolves also maintained an aggressive approach from behind the service line with a flurry of 15 aces in the six sets.
MATCH 1 | ARKANSAS STATE 3 – LITTLE ROCK 0
Bailey Helzer led Arkansas State in the season opener with a match-high 13 kills, helping A-State to a sweep over in-state rival Little Rock. Tegan Seyring added eight kills on a blistering .462 mark from the right side, while Haley Glunz led the way at the net with five blocks. Setter Erin Madigan handed out 30 assists to go along with four blocks.
The bout began in thrilling fashion, going to extra points with the Scarlet and Black prevailing 26-24 in the opening set. After the Red Wolves led 20-13, Little Rock rattled off eight straight points to take a 21-20 edge on one of Makaila Harris’ three service aces. The sides traded points until a clutch Seyring kill gave A-State a 25-24 lead. Libby Gee-Weiler fired an ace to end the set and give the Red Wolves a 1-0 lead.
Five of A-State’s eight aces came in the second set, in which the hosts trailed just once – at the 2-0 mark – as the Red Wolves took a two-set advantage with a 25-17 decision. Helzer caught fire from behind the service line in the set, recording three of her four aces.
The Red Wolves surged ahead to an 18-5 lead in the third stanza en route to clinching the contest with a 25-13 set win. Helzer knocked down six kills with just one error on 12 attempts, with Seyring adding four kills on five attacks.
MATCH 2 | ARKANSAS STATE 3 – LOUISIANA TECH 0
In the day’s final match, Arkansas State held off a late Louisiana Tech surge to end the twin bill with a sweep. Helzer topped all players with 11 kills and 13 digs while serving four aces, and Sarah Martinez led the charge defensively with 20 digs. Seyring did not commit an error on 18 attacks, registering nine kills, while Madigan guided the offense with 35 assists.
LA Tech battled early in the frame, holding a 15-12 lead at the media timeout before A-State took control with six unanswered points, which included three Helzer aces to lead 18-15. The Bulldogs managed to cut the deficit to one, but the Red Wolves held on to take the opening set with three of the final four points, winning 25-22.
A-State overcame another early LA Tech lead with a 7-0 run that featured a pair of aces by freshman Mia Maloney in the second set. Brianna Hollingshed returned to the floor for the first time in over a year, dropping five of her nine kills in the frame. The middle blocker accounted for A-State’s final two points in the set, lifting her team to a 25-15 victory en route to a two-set lead.
The sides exchanged leads seven times in the third set, but the Red Wolves relied on key scores from Helzer, Seyring and Hollingshed to take eight of the final 11 points of the match. Bailey Hall also contributed five of her six kills in the match-clinching set.
Arkansas State faces North Alabama (2-0) in the tourney finale Saturday, with first serve set for 4 p.m. on ESPN+.
Fans can follow the team on Twitter (@AStateVB) and Instagram (astatevb) along with liking the Arkansas State Red Wolves Volleyball page on Facebook for the latest news and updates regarding the team.
Defense Vaults A-State Volleyball to Opening Day Doubleheader Sweep. Article may or may not reflect the views of KLEK 102.5 FM or The Voice of Arkansas Minority Advocacy Council