The Gil E. Steinke Physical Education Center was running short on oxygen Tuesday night, as Texas A&M University-Kingsville Javelina volleyball team (18-5, 8-3 LSC) defeated the Tarleton State TexAnns (17-3, 9-2 LSC) 3 sets to 2, in a match that you certainly had to see to believe.
It was a neck-in-neck game throughout, as neither team would give any sort of wiggle room to each other, as none of the sets would finish with a scoring margin of more than four points (25-23, 21-25, 25-22, 22-25, 12-15).
The fire of the huge crowd of onlookers ignited the Hoggies to hit a dominant .315 over the second best defensive hitting team in the Lone Star Conference.
The defensive prowess of the best blocking team in the Lone Star Conference was also present as can be, as the Hoggies lived up to their reputation, accumulating 14 total blocks spread out across the net, currently sitting as the only team in the LSC with more than 200 blocks on the season; also, allowing the TexAnns to hit only .141 on the night.
Head Coach Tanya Allen felt the game was both a team effort, yet a crowd effort as well, noting that one of the biggest crowds she’s seen while serving her tenure at TAMUK, helped to lift the spirits of the Javelinas as the game went on.
“It’s phenomenal,” said Coach Allen.
”There was tons of energy in the gym, and it was so loud. Our [players] were competitive, and they stepped up big. We are just on a high right now.”
The team has now extended its win streak to six matches, and in the process, ended TSU’s eight-match win streak dating back to Sep. 23rd.
Krystal Faison was a force to be reckoned with the whole night on the attack, racking up 23 total kills, and also included 15 digs and 2 service aces, allowing for her 13th double-double on the season.
“It’s a sweet victory,” said Faison on the win.
“This was a big one for us [because] Tarleton’s one of the top teams in our conference. We gave them their second loss in [LSC play]. It was a great win and we needed it.”
In her wake, Ashley Bukowski and Madison Brabham penciled in 12 kills apiece.
Bukowski chipped in a team-high 18 digs, which allowed for her to have another double-double to add to her resume on the season.
And as always, Casey Klobedans extends her all-time career numbers by guiding the offense with 51 assists on the night.
On the front lines for the defense, it seemed like the collectve works of Lexi Wick, Haley Hutchinson, and Madison Brabham refused to allow anything across the net.
Wick lead the way with eight total blocks and added 10 kills to boast, while Hutchinson and Brabham followed with six blocks to their credit.
The Javelinas game plan going into the contest was proving that they could not only control the net up front, but that they could win in a team effort. The team on the opposite side of the net was formidablle, with the one player (Hailey Roberts) who plagued them the most in the previous outing in Stephenville.
“We just showed them that you can’t win just by using one person, which is what Tarleton does,” said Faison on how the game plan was executed.
“You have to beat our whole team, and I feel like we dominated on every end of our spectrum, and we just played a hell of a game.”
“I mean, we knew that Hailey Roberts was a really good player for Tarleton, so we tried to stress that we needed to win as a team, and that everybody needed to contribute numbers, and everybody on the squad did that,” said Allen. “We’re one of the best blocking teams in the conference, and we definitely showed that tonight.”
Allen and company will hit the road this weekend lookinh to keep the streak alive, traveling to New Mexico to face both Western and Eastern New Mexico universities in back-to-back days this coming weekend.
The Hogs will not make a return to the SPEC until Friday. Oct. 28, when they face Texas A&M-Commerce.