Written by Aren Wolf
TROY, ALABAMA–The Texas State Women’s Volleyball Team wins the Sun Belt Conference Championship their first year in the conference.
Despite the Bobcats coming out a little rocky in the beginning of the first set, Texas State would win in straight sets against a talented UT Arlington Team. A few bad passes early got Texas State out to a slow start, but the senior leader, Amari Deardorff, would get the Bobcats back on track.
In fact, Deardorff would end up having one of the best matches of her career, as the senior hit for an unbelievable 17 kills, no errors, and a .680 hitting percentage, enough for a new career high. The outside-hitter could of headed the ball and it would of ended-up in a kill as she was unstoppable in the championship match. If that wasn’t enough for Bobcat fans, Amari Deardorff would dish out the final kill of the match to win the Sun Belt Conference Title.
Caylin Mahoney, the junior setter, put on a clinic all tournament long. Mahoney would deal out a combined 116 assists, 19 kills, 26 digs, and 7 block assist in three matches, enough to earn her MVP of the Sun Belt Conference Tournament. The junior setter has been a team leader all season long, setting an example for the whole squad.
The two senior middle-blockers, Ashlee Hilbun and Molly Ahrens, came up big for the Bobcats all tournament long. Hilbun finished with a combine 33 kills, 13 block assists, 1 solo block, 14 digs, and 3 serves aces in the tournament. Ahrens finished the tournament with 12 kills and 9 block assists. Ahrens told Head Coach Karen Chisum that she brought her blocking hands with her to the tournament.
As for the young freshmen on the team, Shelby Vas Matt, Kelsey Weynand, and Ali Hubicask, the three were clutch for Texas State. Vas Matt finished the tournament with 22 kills, 23 digs, 3 block assists, and 2 serves aces while Weynand contributed 32 digs and 2 serves aces.
Hubicask’s serve played a huge role in the tournament specially in the game against the Arkansas State Red Wolves. As she got the call from Tracy Smith, Associate Head Coach, where to put the serve, the San Marcos native pinpointed each serve making it difficult for opponents to make a good pass and caused other teams to produce subpar attacks. Hubicask ended the tournament with 14 digs and 4 serves aces.
The sophomore libero, Sierra Smith, led the Bobcats in digs in the tournament with some amazing one-handed diving saves and great passes to the setter. Smith would walk away from the tournament with 41 digs, 13 assists, and 1 serve ace.
Finally, the junior outside-hitter, Alex Simms, came off the bench to give the Bobcats some instant offense. Simms finished the tournament with 30 kills and 5 block assist despite having back issues all season.
The Texas State Women’s Volleyball Team beat an old Southland Conference rival in three straight sets to win the Sun Belt Conference Championship. Head Coach Karen Chisum talked all season long about climbing the staircase to a title, and 6th active winningest coach in the nation would be able to motivate her team to the top. With great recruiting from Associate Head Coach Tracy Smith, and crucial contributions from Assistant Coach Sean Huiet and Volunteer Assistant Antonio Gentile getting the team prepared for every match, the Texas State Bobcats will earn themselves a Sun Belt Conference Championship banner to hang in Strahan Coliseum.
The season is not over for the Bobcats as they earn an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament set to start December 5th. Once all the conference champions are decided, Selection Sunday will take place December 1st and the NCAA bracket will be set.