The two teams went back and forth early on, but A-State’s blocking game proved to be the edge as the Red Wolves finally started to materialize a lead after a 5-0 run. The Trojans fought back, but a service ace from Ticknor ended things with a 25-20 win in the first set for A-State. Senior Madison Brown led the way with seven kills and five digs, and sophomore Kendahl Davenport netted a pair of blocks.
The second leg of the in-state rivalry between the Arkansas State Red Wolves and the Little Rock Trojans kicked off earlier tonight, as A-State looked to further distance itself from the bottom of the Sun Belt West table inhabited by ULM and Little Rock.
A-State came firing out of the gates in the second set, breaking out to an early 8-2 lead forcing Little Rock head coach Van Compton to take an early timeout. The Trojans would fight back to bring the score to 12-7 which led to A-State head coach Santiago Restrepo taking a timeout in response. The Red Wolves closed out the set 13-8 to win it 25-15. The two teams actually tied each other with ten kills, but Little Rock made six more attacking errors than the Red Wolves with nine misfires, which made the key difference.
The third set proved much more successful for Little Rock, as outside hitter Laura Jansen heated up to bring her total to 14 kills in the match, including scoring the set winning kill. The Trojans broke off to a six point lead in the middle of the set, but the Red Wolves brought it back to within one point of forcing extra points, but it was not to be as Little Rock escaped with a 25-23 victory.
Another big early lead elevated the Red Wolves in a fourth set that closely resembled the second, as A-State pulled out to a 7-2 lead before a Little Rock timeout. The Red Wolves were able to keep the Trojans at bay by outkilling the hosts 11-6, and once again playing cleaner volleyball with Little Rock leading in attack errors 5-3. Davenport’s seventh kill of the evening ended things with a 25-17 victory in the set and secured a 3-1 match win over A-State’s in-state rivals.
Not everything was sour for the Trojans however, as Jansen had a solid game and a double-double with 19 kills and 11 digs on the night. Alyssa Nayar led in the setting department with 21 assists, closely followed by Nathalia Vigineski who had 17 assists. The team statline painted a revealing picture, as the team hit .105 compared to Jansen’s .173 percentage, and the Trojans gave away 29 free points on hitting errors.
As for the Red Wolves, Brown led the way once again with 17 kills and nine digs, which was less than Jansen, but she was much more efficient, hitting .239. Junior setter Julianna Cramer got more playing time than she has had recently, notching 11 assists, but Lauren Musante still carried the load with 31. And of course, the nation’s leading blocker in Davenport had a stellar game with eight blocks and seven kills, displaying her versatility to the team.
With the win, A-State improved to 7-5 on the season, and Little Rock fell to 1-12, its lone win actually coming against the Red Wolves in A-State’s season opener in Jonesboro. The two teams will play again tomorrow at 1 p.m. on ESPN+.