The Texas State volleyball team will travel to Tulsa, Okla., to compete in its third tournament for the season at the Golden Hurricane Classic.
The Bobcats will face three opponents during the classic, with the first challenge coming from Northern Colorado. The Bears are currently 4-3 in the season, losing three out of four previous games. Northern Colorado ranks second to last in the Big Sky Conference in team hitting percentage, averaging .149 despite the Bears ranking first in digs in the conference.
Senior middle-blocker Ashlee Hilbun discussed some of the necessary improvements the team must make moving forward into the season, preparing for upcoming matchups.
“We definitely have to work on finishing matches,” Hilbun said. “We start sets strong but also let our opponent creep back in the game. We have to both start and finish strong. Also, working on taking care of the ball in critical times is important for us. Other than that, I think we’ve been playing well.”
Texas State ranks first in the Sun Belt Conference in opponent hitting percentage, holding competitors to an average of .121. The Bobcats placed second in serving aces reaching 1.61 per game. Hilbun leads the team with 12 aces on the season.
Senior middle-blocker Molly Ahrens is second in blocks in the conference, averaging 1.32 per game. Ahrens adds 39 blocking assists for the season. During the loss against North Texas, Ahrens recorded six blocking assists, which accounted for her second highest number in a single game this year.
“One of the biggest things we’re going to continue to work on is serving,” said senior right-side hitter Amari Deardorff. “The two teams that were able to beat us this season really took us out with serving. To compete with the top two teams in our conference, we’re really going to have to put more emphasis on serving.”
The next opponent Texas State will battle after Northern Colorado is tournament host Tulsa. The Golden Hurricanes are 6-2 on the year and are coming off a loss to Kanas State. Tulsa ranks third in Conference USA in assists, with 412 on the season. Junior setter Bailey Clampitt leads the team in assists, with an average of 6.81 per game.
The final opponent the Bobcats will encounter is Arkansas. The Razorbacks come into the tournament with a 4-2 record, beating Kansas in their previous match. Junior outside-hitter Meredith Hays leads the team in kills totaling 99 on the season. In Arkansas’ previous two games against Kansas, Hays recorded a combined 44 kills. Hays had 22 kills in both games against the Jayhawks, which is a season-high for the year.
“It’s going to be a tough stretch of matches coming up,” said Coach Karen Chisum. “Both Northern Colorado and Tulsa have both beaten Baylor in three sets, and Arkansas is no slouch. We’re going to be (facing) three really good teams. This will be by far the toughest weekend the team has had all year.”
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