MAGNOLIA, Ark. (SAU) - The W.T. Watson Center was rocking on Tuesday night as the Southern Arkansas volleyball team played their home-opener against Great American Conference rival Henderson State. A record 637 fans were in attendance to see the Lady Muleriders knock off the Lady Reddies in straight sets, 25-15, 25-19, 25-19.
From the outset, the Lady Muleriders (7-4, 1-1 GAC) appeared to be in total control of the match as they trailed only once during the first two sets. In the opening set, SAU trailed very early on, but would eventually jump out to a 10-3 lead. After a four-point run midway through the set by Henderson to make the score 15-10, the Lady Muleriders went on a four-point run of their own to extend their lead to nine points, 19-10. Henderson would hang in the set with a couple of unforced SAU errors, but the Lady Muleriders eventually took the opening set 25-15.
Set two would not ever be in question as the Lady Muleriders raced out to leads of 5-0 and 7-1. Later in the set, SAU would take their largest lead, 11 points, 19-8. From there however, SAU would find it tough to close out the set as the Lady Reddies made things interesting, closing the lead down to six points, 22-16. SAU would grab two of the next three points to set up set-point, but a quick two-point spurt from HSU postponed the set win for the Lady Muleriders. The final point of the set would come on the ensuing service as Courtney Geesing hammered home a kill from setter Hannah Rice.
In the third set, the Muleriders took another early lead, but this time, Henderson was able to rally and take just their second lead of the match. Trailing for much of the middle part of the set, SAU began their comeback effort with the score 12-10 in favor of HSU. A quick two points knotted the set at 12-all, but Henderson was able to take another two point lead, 14-12 in response.
The series of runs continued as the Lady Mulerider rattled off three consecutive points to take a 15-14 lead. After Henderson scored three of the next four points, the Lady Muleriders found themselves trailing 17-16. From there, however, the Lady Muleriders ripped off four straight points to regain the lead, 20-17, and control of the set. The momentum of that run would remain at the close of the set as the Lady Muleriders took five of the next seven points of the set en route to the 25-19 win.
For the match, the Lady Muleriders hit at an impressive clip of .318 as they totaled 42 kills and committed just 14 attack errors on 88 total attacks. They also totaled 12 service aces with Allie Cecil leading the team with five aces.
Individually, SAU was led in kills by Hailey McNee with 14. Logan Tolbert and Courtney Geesing were behind McNee with eight kills each. Gabby Clark and Hannah Rice shared setting duties and each dished out double-digit assists with Clark leading the way with 22 and Rice with 17. Defensively, Lauren Woods topped the team in digs with 12. Amanda Monge and Tolbert were active on the block as the two combined for five block solos.
With the win in their home-opener, the Lady Muleriders are now 3-1 in such matches under head coach Steven Gream.