LUFKIN, TX(KTRE) - It was a big night for volleyball for East Texas teams.
Starting in Lufkin. The Lady pack swept Jacksonville on Senior night. Lufkin moves to 11-1 on the season. With key district games left on the road against state ranked Hallsville and Whitehouse, the Lady Pack will need to finish strong. They could finish anywhere from a tie for second or a tie for first..
In Huntington, the Red Devils moved to 4-1 in district with a sweep over Jasper. Thier overall record is now 26-11. They are also hoping for a strong finish to possibly force a tie for first with Carthage.
Finally, the SFA Ladyjacks continued their winning ways as they extended their winning streak to 18 straight with a win on the road against Central Arkansas.
From SFA Athletics:
CONWAY, Ark. - Forced to do battle with Central Arkansas inside the Prince Center - a facility that has been nothing short of a house of horrors for the SFA volleyball team - the Ladyjacks maintained their status as the lone Southland Conference squad without a league loss by defeating the Sugar Bears 3-1 Tuesday night. Senior middle blocker Makenzee Hanna posted a team-high 11 kills while senior outside hitter Haley Coleman added 10 for an SFA team that won its first match inside the Prince Center since 2008. The Ladyjacks remain atop the league standings, sitting one match ahead of Abilene Christian and Central Arkansas - both of whom are tied for second place following the Sugar Bears' loss.
SET ONE | SFA 25, Central Arkansas 23 • Putting on a front-row defensive clinic, SFA's middle blockers more than made up for the Ladyjacks' offensive deficiencies in the opening frame by helping the team post six rejections through the set. • Central Arkansas manufactured a 12-8 lead early in the frame before one of the Sugar Bears' 13 attack errors started a 6-0 run by the Ladyjacks. SFA registered three of its six set one blocks through that scoring spree while junior setter Ann Hollas served up the first of SFA's four aces. • UCA battled back to knot matters three times - at 14, at 16 and at 23 - before the Ladyjacks gained the separation they needed to take the lead. Hollas and Anyia Williams combined for SFA's fifth block of the set, sparking a set-clinching 4-2 run in the process. Daron finished the set with a solo rejection while freshman libero Marisabel Torres added an ace. • Offense was in short supply for both teams in the set as the Ladyjacks' edged out the Sugar Bears in attack percentage .026 to .020.
SET TWO | SFA 25, Central Arkansas 19 • The offensive efficiency SFA lacked in the opening set was present and accounted for in the second and the Ladyjacks made good use of it to take a 2-0 lead. • UCA took an early 2-1 lead before the Sugar Bears committed three unforced attack errors during a 5-0 SFA surge that put the Ladyjacks ahead. Hanna capped the run with her second of three kills in the set. • Managing to battle back, Central Arkansas went up 11-9 before terminations from Hanna, Hollas and Peyton Redmond helped SFA go on a 6-1 run and jump in front for the rest of the frame. • Although the Sugar Bears closed to within one, 18-17, SFA did not allow the home team to tie things up and closed the frame on a 7-2 run that was highlighted by kills from Coleman, Daron and Anyia Williams. • SFA committed only three attack errors in the set compared to 10 by the Sugar Bears who hit at a clip of only .094 through set two.
SET THREE | Central Arkansas 25, SFA 20 • Following two frames of struggling to get anything going against the Ladyjacks' defense, Central Arkansas ratcheted up the intensity on offense a notch or two to make things interesting. • By hitting at a .303 clip through the frame, UCA managed to cut SFA's lead to 2-1. The tipping point in the set came when the home team turned an 8-7 deficit into a 15-9 lead by using an 8-1 run powered by two kills and a service ace from Haley Tippett. • Back-to-back attack errors from Coleman and Hanna pushed the Sugar Bears' lead to 20-12 and although the Ladyjacks cut into the home team's advantage with a 5-1 run that made matters 22-19 UCA's lead proved too much to overcome. • SFA hit only .114 in the set and did not register a block after amassing eight through the first two frames.
SET FOUR | SFA 25, Central Arkansas 23 • With sets one and two defined by defense, the match's final frame was all about offense. Once again, however, SFA turned to its x-factor - junior outside hitter Xariah Williams - to give it the upper hand. • After being inserted midway through the third set, it was the final frame where the junior did the most damage by swinging down on five of the Ladyjacks' 20 terminations. Two of those kills came in the visitors' 4-1 run to begin the set. • Coleman, Daron, Anyia Williams and Xariah Williams each pounded down kills through the course of a 5-1 SFA run that stretched the visitors' lead to 11-6, but the Sugar Bears were not down and were definitely not out. • Four players struck for kills in an 8-2 surge by the home team with Tippett and reigning Southland Conference Player of the Year Samantha Anderson totaling two each to put the Sugar Bears ahead 14-13. • That run set off a frenzied game of call and response. Through the rest of the match, there were nine deadlocks with each team using a run of at least three to regain control from the other. • Trailing 22-21, SFA turned to Coleman and Hanna to lead it to the finish line. The former put down one kill while the latter added two as well as a block assist during the team's 4-1 run to end the match.
KEY PERFORMERS/STATISTICS OF NOTE • Coleman completed her second-straight double-double effort with a team-high 14 digs. She was one of three Ladyjacks who posted double-digit digs as Redmond finished with 11 and Monaco with 12. • Most of the Ladyjacks' defensive work up front was done by Daron and Hanna. Daron totaled six rejections while Hanna added five of her own to compliment her 11 kills. Anyia Williams finished with three block assists while Redmond turned in a pair, too. • Xariah Williams showed off a dazzling touch on offense, pounding down seven kills on 14 errorless swings to finish with an attack percentage of .500. • Hollas passed out a team-high 27 assists while senior setter McKenzie Brewer added 15 to go along with a service ace and two digs. • Tippett turned in a match-high 22 terminations for Central Arkansas while Anderson added 13. No other UCA players finished with over eight, however, and the home team committed 13 service errors and 30 attacking miscues in its first home setback of the season. • SFA remains one of four NCAA Division I volleyball teams - BYU, Pittsburgh and UCF are the others - who have not lost a true road match this season. • The Ladyjacks' 18-match winning streak is tied fifth-longest in program history. The last time SFA win 18 matches in a row was 2004 when the team finished with a 26-6 mark. QUOTABLE SFA head coach Debbie Humphreys' on the match as a whole | "This was a huge win. I told the girls before we stepped out here tonight that it has been a long time since we've been in here and not only won but played well. Tonight was the night we needed to do both of those things and create some new and different memories in the Prince Center. I thought we played well, let down a little in the third and that's when UCA really cranked it up. At that point it was just a battle on both sides of the net." ...on a win that allows SFA to gain a little separation from one of the teams in the top of the league standings | "Anything that will give us separation is great at this point and time, but we're only at the halfway point of the conference schedule. There's still a lot of volleyball left to play, but this win is big. We still have eight teams who are going to give us everything they've got and more. We're seeing everyone at their very best - teams are just playing extremely aggressive against us. We have survived half of it, but we have to keep improving. We better be ready for the second half to start Thursday night." ...on how UCA got back into the match in set three and what adjustments SFA needed to make | "We did a lot of things well in the first set. We didn't generate a lot of kills, but we were still able to side out at a higher level. They gave us more points in that set to take advantage. Coming out in the second we continued to play well and I felt like we needed some more offense from an outside hitter position, but wasn't quite sure when to bring in some different pieces. Central Arkansas made that decision an easy one for us, though, by really coming out strong offensively. ...on the play of Xariah Williams | "In the third when things weren't going so well, it was time to get Xariah in there and see what she can do and pretty much everything she touched turned to gold. Her hitting numbers look like ones a middle blocker would put up. She took care of her passing and defensive responsibilities, too. She has been the different in so many matches this season, tonight included."
COMING UP NEXT • With their four-match road trip now in the record books, the Ladyjacks return to Shelton Gym for the first time since September 29 on Thursday night for a pivotal Southland Conference matchup against New Orleans. First serve between the Ladyjacks and Privateers has been set for 6:30 p.m.