Written by Aren Wolf
TROY, ALABAMA–Things are starting to heat up for the Bobcats, as the volleyball team wins their first Sun Belt Conference match against the University of Louisiana-Lafayette in four sets.
The Bobcats traveled to Troy, Ala., to compete against eight other teams for the Sun Belt Conference championship and an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.
Texas State only dropped one set in three matches against the Ragin’ Cajuns this season. In the regular season, Texas State beat ULL in both matches in straight sets. After winning the first two sets in the playoff match, the Bobcats dropped the third set to Lafayette due to sub-par passing. The Bobcats found themselves down late in the fourth set only to make a late run to win the match.
Texas State relied on their blocking to catapult themselves past ULL for the win. Middle-blocker, Ashley Hilbun, led the team in blocks assist with six and in kills with 15, as the senior slide out for a right-side attack to lay down a punishing blow to end the match in the fourth set. Freshman outside-hitter, Shelby Vas Matt, played well finishing the match with 13 kills, six digs, and four assist while giving the Bobcats a clutch boost in the first two sets and the final set.
Junior setter, Caylin Mahoney, finished with 44 assist and 13 digs to earn her another double-double on the season. Both Alex Simms and Sierra Smith filled in the stat sheet well. Simms handed out 11 kills while Smith dug out 22 attacks from the Ragin’ Cajuns to help solidify a second round game in the tournament.
As the Bobcats move on to the next round, the number two seed, The University of Arkansas Little Rock, and the number one seed, Western Kentucky University, both lost and were eliminated from the tournament in the first round. Before WKU loss to Troy University, seeded last in the tournament, the Lady Toppers only loss one conference game in two seasons. WKU was going for a three-peat this season with three consecutive regular season titles under their belt and two consecutive Sun Belt Conference Championships.
Troy University, who is hosting the tournament this year, barely made it into the conference tournament as the number 8 seed. After the huge upset with the Trojans beating WKU in straight sets, Troy will meet UT Arlington in the second round tomorrow at 6:30p.m.
University of Arkansas Little Rock loss to Arkansas State in four sets as the number one offensive player in the Sun Belt, Edina Begic, twisted her ankle in the second set. She would be helped off the court and re-taped only to return and play the rest of the game. The energy and momentum in the match completely left the Trojans as the Red Wolves gained a sense of urgency and pulled out the win.
Friday, the action returns on KTSW 8.99 with the Bobcats taking on the Red Wolves, a team that has Texas State’s number in the regular season when the Bobcats lost to AKU twice in five sets. The game starts at 4pm with a pre-game at 3:45p.m. all coming to you live on KTSW 8.99.