By Joey Gonzales
The calendar has transitioned into October, which means conference play is underway. Texas State hosted Louisiana Monroe, Friday night, in their annual pink match to raise money for breast cancer awareness. During an interview earlier this week, Coach Sean Huiet was asked if there were any adjustments made for the unique game. He said, “We’re all going to have a card and write who we’re playing for, my mom is a breast cancer survivor.”
As a result, the Bobcats wore their grey jerseys with pink numbers and letters. In addition to these festivities, included donation buckets being passed around after each Texas State Ace. With this opportunity available, the Bobcats committed six aces which rank as third-most in a game this season.
Texas State came into Friday’s matchup with a 5-10 overall record and a 1-1 record in conference play. The Warhawks came into the matchup with a near-identical record in addition to a .500 record in the Sun Belt Conference. On paper, the matchup was presented as a competitive contest with both teams entering the night with 675 kills and over 800 digs. The Bobcats looked to take control of the Sun Belt Conference West division due to their five-way tie with teams like Louisiana and ULM.
Beginning from the first serve, Texas State looked like they had a pep in their step due to the addition of Senior Emily DeWalt which had not played in Strahan this season due to an arm injury. As a result of this lineup change the Bobcats were able to start DeWalt, Fitzgerald, Buettner, Scott, Gardner, Marshall, and Johnson. Once the game began the Bobcats came out swinging and took an early 4-1 lead and never gave the lead back.
During this set, Tyeranee Scott met a Bobcat milestone when she received her 326th career block assist. Scott became the only Bobcat in program history to record this many assists. Throughout the night, several other notable achievements would be met when Janell Fitzgerald recorded her fourth double-double (Kills, Assists) in her career and third this season. At the end of the night, Fitzgerald maintained 11 kills and 11 digs.
The second and third sets would continue to be a struggle for the Warhawks as they faced a Bobcat 9-0 run to begin set number two. Texas State would easily take the second set by a score of 25-7 being led by junior Tessa Marshall who recorded five kills in the set. In the third set, ULM offered a counter-attack when they trailed 15-12 and called a timeout. However, the Bobcat offense would prove difficult to stop while allowing the Warhawks only three more points for the rest of the match.
Once the game concluded, the Bobcats had six players with more than five kills while recording 44 as a team. Jada Garner led the team with four of their six aces, and Janell Fitzgerald led the team in digs with 11. Texas State also completed twelve blocks as a team which ranks as second-most of the season. The victory ties Texas State and Louisiana for the first-place spot in the West Division with a 2-1 record.
Featured Image by Khalid Alhareth