From SFA Athletics
Right from the opening serve, visiting Northwestern State made a decision to try and stop the SFA volleyball team's middle blockers on offense.
The Ladyjacks, however, countered by continuously feeding their outside hitters and setting to the back row and the rest as they say is history - the latest chapter in SFA's all-time dominance over the Lady Demons.
Senior outside hitter Peyton Redmond accumulated a match-high 12 kills, senior middle blocker Makenzee Hanna added 10 more and the SFA volleyball extended the nation's fourth-longest active winning streak to 12 matches by taking care of Northwestern State, 3-0, Tuesday night inside a packed Shelton Gym.
With the win - SFA's fifth in a row over the Lady Demons - the Ladyjacks are now one of four Southland Conference teams who have not suffered a league loss through the early stages of the season.
SET ONE | SFA 25, Northwestern State 20 • Northwestern State picked up the first of its 10 blocks on the opening point of the match before SFA jumped in front thanks to a kill from Hanna and Redmond's first service ace. • The Ladyjacks and Lady Demons swapped points before Northwestern State used an Alexis Warren kill and an SFA attack error to open up an 8-6 advantage. Following that run, however, SFA used a sizable scoring spree of its own to take control of the set. • Redmond started SFA's 10-2 run with a kill and added another to go along with a block assist in that span. Ann Hollas served up an ace while Anyia Williams took to the sky in conjunction with Coleman and Hanna for a pair of block assists that helped push the Ladyjacks' lead to 16-10. • The third and final SFA service ace of the set came courtesy of Haley Coleman and made matters 21-12 before the Demons decided to make a run at things. • Though SFA took the set, Northwestern State ended the frame on an 8-4 run which featured three kills and a service ace from Alexis Warren and another three terminations by Hannah Brister. Hanna, however, put a stop to the Lady Demons' antics by pounding down a set-clinching termination that put the home team on top.
SET TWO | SFA 25, Northwestern State 19 • After hitting just .143 in the opening set, SFA increased its offensive effectiveness in the middle frame and attacked at a clip of .300 to put the home team one set from victory. • A heavy dose of Redmond proved to be the recipe for the Ladyjacks' success in the frame. The senior pounded down eight of her 12 terminations in the set including two during SFA's 7-4 run to start it. • Northwestern State managed to stay within one point for the majority of the frame before Redmond decided to do something about it. During a 4-1 run that upped the Ladyjacks' lead to 19-15, Redmond was responsible for every point by striking for four terminations. • SFA made use of another 4-1 run capped with another ace by Coleman to finish off the Lady Demons. Though Northwestern State hit .263 in the frame, it committed four service errors as well that wound up killing a number of rally tries.
SET THREE | SFA 25, Northwestern State 19 • Trying to extend the match to at least four sets, Northwestern State greeted the Ladyjacks with another pair of blocks during its 5-2 run to open the final frame before yet another service error gave SFA life. • Hollas and Anyia Williams finished off a 6-1 run with a combo block that put SFA on top 8-6 before a 5-0 scoring spree featuring two terminations from Hanna and another off Coleman's hand increased the Ladyjacks' lead to 15-10. • That edge grew to 21-15 after McKenzie Brewer dumped a ball over the net for her lone kill of the night before Northwestern State made things interesting for the final time. Alexia Warren and Madeline Drake capped a 3-0 Lady Demon run with a block that cut SFA's lead to 21-18 but Danae Daron returned the favor by starting a match-ending 4-1 run with a solo rejection. • The junior added a kill as well as a block assist during that surge to cap off the Ladyjacks' 12th-straight win.
KEY PERFORMERS/STATISTICS OF NOTE • Even though she didn't make a huge contribution on offense, that didn't stop sophomore middle blocker Anyia Williams from helping stop the Lady Demons' offense. Williams accumulated a match-high six block assists, tying her career-best in that category. Coleman and Ann Hollas added three block assists each to help the hosts limit Northwestern State's attack percentage to .150. • The Ladyjacks and Lady Demons finished neck and neck in a number of statistical category including total blocks (10) and service aces (four). What made the biggest different in the match, however, was the sheer number of service errors the Lady Demons committed. Northwestern State killed rally after rally and finished the match with 12 service errors. In a match which was decided by 17 combined points between the three sets, that statistic loomed the largest. • Hollas dished out a match-high 21 assists while Brewer added 13 for SFA who received double-digit digs from just one individual - freshman Sabrina Monaco who totaled a team-high 12. • No Northwestern State player finished with over nine kills and Reagan Rogers put up that exact number. In the front row, Madeline Drake matched Anyia Williams for match-high honors with six total blocks as well. Alexis Warren added five rejections and eight terminations for the visitors who suffered their first Southland Conference setback of the season. • Not only was SFA's victory its 12th in a row, it happened to be the team's third-straight via a 3-0 score. The Ladyjacks have not lost a set since dropping a pair in a 3-2 non-conference win at North Texas on Saturday, Sept. 15. • The win pushed the Ladyjacks' all-time record against the Lady Demons to an incredible 52-5 (.912). Northwestern State is the only team that SFA has won 50 or more matches against and Ladyjacks' head coach Debbie Humphreys has accumulated 51 of those wins against Northwestern State which translate to just a shade over seven percent of her win total.
QUOTABLE SFA head coach Debbie Humphreys on the effectiveness of SFA's outside hitters | "I think we did some pretty good things tonight. They're a really solid blocking team and they made a commitment to slowing our middles down. They were able to do that, but our middles stayed engaged, did a great job blocking and got our pins open. Then they stepped up and did a nice job. That's how it's going to have to be - we have weapons so that no matter how people decide to play us we'll still have somebody to go score points." …on a better service game | "We did a much better job serving tonight that we did on Saturday. Our service pressure was good, we hit our zones, we kept them out of system a lot which made our job a whole lot easier. They were trying to serve aggressively to limit our weapons and it just led to more unforced errors which, fortunately, we didn't counter with. …on what to clean up before Thursday's match against Houston Baptist | "Offensive and defensive execution - continuing to get a little bit sharper with each of those. Continuing to expand the playbook. We go to practice and always try to put in some additional options in each service rotation so we don't become a predictable team. It's tricky trying to get better in a week where you have so many matches because you have to be fresh come game day. You can't spend too much time in the gym and the majority of our time needs to be spent preparing for our next opponent."