Saturday, November 19, 2011

SLC Tournament, Day 2

9:47 Two Names: Amber Calhoun and Amari Deardorff. Wow. With UCA up 12-11.. those two BLOCK THREE STRAIGHT BALLS FOR POINTS... THREE STRAIGHT!! That gives Texas State the lead 14-12. Then Toth is called for being in the net and its down to 14-13. After that, Nagy gets a huge kill and that ties it at 14. Toth then kills an overpass and gives Texas State match point at 15-14.. The match ends when Player of the Year Amber Calhoun pushes one to deep center.. right on the line and dashes UCA's upset bid... 16-14 and Texas State wins in 5. A fantastic match.. Has to be one of the best semifinals in SLC history.. Just a fantastic match.. have a great night! Tomorrow at 2 be sure and watch the final on SLC TV if you are not in Conway.. all the seeds hold to form and #1 Texas State will face #2 UTSA.

9:43 PM Not so fast say Deardorff and Calhoun.. a couple of big blocks ties it back up at 12. Classic. Just a classic match. High quality

9:41 PM A DeGeare service error and then an attack error from the Bobcats forces Chisum to take her last timeout.. UCA up 12-9 in control, and looking like they are going to come back from 2-0 and win 3-2.. just three side outs will do it. What a performace from UCA tonite.

9:35 PM Freshmen Alicia Dittrich and Scout Brooks serving notice that UCA is going to be strong in years to come.. Brooks just ripped one past the Bobcat blockers for her 19th kill of the night. UCA leads 9-7 in the 5th.

9:33 PM UCA leads 8-6 at the turn.. I think this comeback is gonna happen.

9:27 PM Ashlee Hiblun on the verge of a triple double: 8 kills, 8 digs and 10 blocks. Scout Brooks leads all - very impressive - with 17 kills.

9:24 I've though all during this match that the libero and overall back row play of Texas State has struggled just a bit and it showed down the stretch.. Several balls that should have been dug and then a complete misplay of a Nagy serve ends it in Set 4 and gives UCA a 25-22 victory... We are going to five for the right to face UTSA in tomorrow's championship. I didn't think anything could top UTA and SHSU in Round 1, but this one takes the cake.. So impressed with UCA's play.

9:22 PM A Toth error followed by a Deardorff error and suddenly UCA is up 22-19.. Texas State playing from a point or two behind most of this set. Unbelievable.. UCA on the verge of forcing five. Again, easily the best match of the tourney.. BY FAR!!

9:16 UCA frustrating the heck out of Texas State right now.. up 17-15 in Set 4 forcing a TO.. The Sugar Bears are playing at a very high level tonight.. Jessica Nagy and Scout Brooks both having strong performances and Curl chasing everything down.. Lesson: Never count out the host team.. I didn't see UCA playing like this at all. Not at all.. Great crowd in here tonight. This place is rocking. If you had half these people in Prince, you'd be deaf.

9:09 PM Calhoun up to 13-0-20 (.650).. still without an attack error early in the 4th set. UCA jumps out to a 6-2 lead in the set but it is quickly erased by the Bobcat defense. Hilbun in on two blocks to swing it back to 8-7 Texas State. She is quite the player.. very active in the middle.. and so stoic. Great poise under pressure.

8:59 PM Nagy ends it out of the TO slamming one off the block and giving UCA the set 3 win 25-23. Going to Set 4 with Texas State still up 2-1. Great, great match.. the UCA crowd really into this one...everyone getting their money's worth on Day 2 at this thing. Will UCA force a Set 5? Gotta give them credit either way.. I didn't see them playing this strong these last two days after limping into the postseason.

8:58 PM A Calhoun kill out of the TO and then Nagy slams an overpass on a joust at the net.. no one is going to win that battle against her strength. That makes it 24-22 UCA, but then Toth, who is playing lights out in this set gets a kill and forces a TO with UCA leading 24-23.

8:54 PM Another back and forth match.. probably the best overall match of the tournament.. No one able to extend a lead of more than two points. Toth having a great set for Texas State but Alicia Dittrich for UCA has just scored two points on a dink then a slam to force a Bobcat timeout and a UCA 22-20 lead.. lets see if they hold on this time to force Set 4.

8:31 PM Halftime postscript: We are seeing why Amber Calhoun won Player of the year. At intermission she leads Texas State with 10 kills on just 12 swings.. no errors. That's an .833 attack percentage if you are calculating along with me from home. She is just ripping it.

8:25 PM Wow. Just wow. Easily, and I mean, easily the most exciting set of the tournament right there.. Here's the sequence down the stretch. Tied at 24, UCA's Geisler commits a service error to give Texas State set point at 25-24. Brooks tied it on a strong kill at 25, only to have DeGeare absolutely destroy one from the middle to give Texas State the advantage again 26-25. UCA goes back to Brooks and she responds and ties the game again at 26 all. Then, Nagy makes the crowd erupt on a kill from an overpass and UCA leads 27-26 and has a chance to tie it up. But then Calhoun and Deardorff just smother Brooks as they went to her one time to many and we are tied again at 27. DeGeare's big serve now... and Brooks fights back and gives UCA a second set point at 28-27 on another kill from the left. UCA just going there over and over. But, Calhoun answers from the middle and forces another play making it 28 all. Then Nagy goes wide on a shot and Texas State has the ad 29-28. Then the controversy ensues as Giesler's shot goes long for UCA, but it looked like to me and most in the gym that she got a touch at the net. Cristin Curl argues strongly to the up ref that there was a touch, but to no avail, no call and Texas State wins the second set 30-28. Got all that. Great.. I gotta go get a bottled water. Wow.. What a set!

8:19 PM The see-saw continues.. Texas State takes advantage of a couple of UCA errors and a big kill from PLayer of the Year Amber Calhoun to go ahead 24-23 and force a UCA TO.. set point and chance at 2-0 lead coming for the Bobcats.

8:14 PM The second set between UCA and Texas State much more competive than the first. Texas State leading most of the set by a few points, but now UCA has pulled out to a 21-20 lead forcing Karen Chisum into a timeout.. Let's see if the host Sugar Bears can hold on tie this thing up at the half...

7:50 PM Texas State looking like a totally different club tonight. Overpowering UCA in Set 1, winning 25-18 and in control for virtually all of that set. So many weapons on offense for Texas State and all of Hilbun, Deardorff, Calhoun and DeGeare contributing in Set 1. DeGeare with several aces in the set to aid her cause as well. Texas State hits a whopping .394.. UCA not able to slow them down at all. Hilbun and Deardorff with 4 kills, DeGeare and Calhoun with three in a very balanced attack.. McCorquodale doing a great job of mixing it up. Impessed with Scout Brooks for UCA.. they are going to her a lot with a team high 13 attacks.. she turned five of them into kills and she leads the club in that department.

6:45 PM The difference in the match for SHSU: 8 more attack errors, five more service errors and UTSA's superior play at the net. All match long.. UTSA was just all over SHSU on attacks.. The Runners finish with 15 total blocks in a fantastic match defensively. Both teams hit under .100. Normally when you see that, you think that it was just lousy offense. That wasn't the case in that match at all. Both teams played really well defensively. Attackers for Sam: Kolbe 12-13-53 (-.019), Hawkins 4-5-24 (-.042), Neisler 5-5-17 (.000). The only girl with over 10 attacks with a positive hitting percentage was Cleveland 8-4-25 (.160). Again, UTSA didn't put up any flashy offensive numbers either. They find themselves in the final without having a girl kill even 10 balls in either match they've played. Huskey, Adams and Walls with 7 each lead the Runners in that one. Amazing. When you look at the score, you see 3-0 sweep, but Sam played better than the score shows. B But, in the end.. this sets up a possible #1 vs #2 match up between UTSA and Texas State. The Bobcats will have to knock off riding high host UCA first though.. .that one starting in about 40 minutes.

6:33 PM A big block by Walls on the right side on a Kolbe attack swung the late momentum to UTSA. The Kolbe paired a kill from the right with an error from the left. After that a Walls kill from the right set up match point for UTSA. In the final sequence, Wimbish made a tremendous dig that then Jewasko was able to track down and enable UTSA to return over the net.. after a bit more of a rally, Thornton finally ended it and UTSA took Set 3 25-23 and completed the sweep. SHSU put up quite a fight to even come back from the early deficit in that one, but UTSA makes the last late push and convincingly finishes off Sam Houston 3-0 to earn a date in the title game tomorrow.

6:25 PM After getting down 9-2, the Bearkats go on a furious 12-1 run to take the lead in Set 3. A great show of strength and fight by SHSU. Defense continues to be the theme in this match. Great play at the net and a ton of great ups on both sides. High level volleyball in this game so far.. clearly two of the top teams in this tournament. Sam Houston not going quietly. Up 21-19 in Set 3.

5:58 PM SHSU at an even .000 hitting after the .067 in set 1 in countered by the same figure in the negative direction in Set 2. UTSA not lighting it up.. hitting only .095 in set 2 and .103 overall. The difference is at the net where UTSA is already out to 10 blocks, with five apiece from Adams and setter Schwirtlich. No big hitters for SHSU able to do anything. Kolbe at 7-8-34 (-.029), Hawkins at 4-3-18 (.056) and Black at just 2-3-6 (-.167). Just like they did against SFA, UTSA is using a well distributed attack as Huksey, Malloy and Adams all have five kills with Schwirtlich getting four of her own. Sam Houston needing to come out firing to avoid the sweep.

5:54 PM After a Brenda Gray timeout at 16-9, the Bearkats could only get as close as five at 25-20 after a Loving ace, but UTSA proves to be too much.. especially at the net and they are able to close out Set 2 with a 25-17 win taking a 2-0 lead in the locker room at intermission. SHSU back on their heels at this point.

5:47 PM Early in Set 2 each team trading runs of three or four points, but then UTSA's block comes up big again and they get it out to 10-6.. After that, SHSU not as sharp and UTSA able to go on a 6-3 run to stretch the lead out to 16-9. SHSU needing a strong push to avoid being down 2-0.

5:30 PM A very competitive first set between the Runners and the Bearkats ends with UTSA taking a 1-0 lead but needing extra points to get it (26-24). Twice Sam Houston had a chance to gain the advantage down the stretch when tied, but in both instances the UTSA front line came up big with blocks. 8 tied scores..many of which were down the final points of the match. Kolbe picking up where she left off with her 81 swings last night.. taking 17 in the first here this afternoon. Neither team hitting for a high percentage.. UTSA at .111 and SHSU at .067 in the first set. Three blocks by McKenzie Adams for UTSA in that first set.. some at very key times. SHSU needing to get Set 2 in order to avoid being in a big hole at half.

4:30 PM Day Two of the Southland Conference Tournament is about to begin.. first match this afternoon will cast the Sam Houston State Bearkats against the #2 seeded UTSA Roadrunners.. Recall that SHSU is the team that not only busted up UTSA's streak of 12 conference games in which they didn't lose a set.. but SHSU went on to foil UTSA's attempt at an undefeated conference slate, beating them in Huntsville in five sets on November 3. Since that time, UTSA has struggled to repeat the dominance they showed prior. After their loss to SHSU, UTSA dropped a set in Nacogdoches, lost to Texas State in four sets and dropped a set against UTA in their final regular season match. So, despite handling #7 seed SFA rather easily yesterday, one has to wonder if Sam Houston isn't set up to spoil UTSA's shot at a championship.

That being said, Sam Houston was involved in easily the most emotional match of Day 1, getting stretched all the way to five games against a feisty Maverick club from UTA. In that match, Sam Houston star Carli Kolbe swung a painful 81 times and registered the ridiculous line of 30 kills with 20 digs. To win this tournament there is no rest.. gotta play three straight days, so we'll see if the Bearkats looked winded during this match against the Runners..