Volleyball returns to Wisdom Gym after month-long road trip
The teams: Tarleton Texans (7-9, 0-2 WAC) vs. Lamar Cardinals (4-11, 0-1 WAC); UTRGV Vaqueros (9-6, 1-1 WAC)
Or: Stephenville, Texas
Establishment: Wisdom gym
Time: 6 p.m. CT (Thu); 1 p.m. CT (Saturday)
Streaming platform: ESPN +
TEXAN VOLLEYBALL MATCH DAY
There’s a song by Texas Country artist Cory Morrow called “21 Days”, and the chorus sings on the road for 21 days.
Well, Morrow has nothing on the Texans.
Tarleton hasn’t played a home game since September 1, which includes a 13-game road trip to Stockton, Calif., Stony Brook, New York, and back to the Lone Star State, but it all ends. Thursday night when the Texans host Lamar at 6 p.m. for WAC Action. It will be the first of four straight home games for Tarleton, who also hosts the UTRGV at 1 p.m. Saturday.
Matches will be broadcast live on ESPN + and live stats will be available. Links to follow the action are available on the volleyball program page at TarletonSports.com.
ABOUT THE MATCHUP
- Tarleton will continue to play in the WAC division this week at home when the Texans welcome a new and less new league foe to Wisdom Gym. All from the Southwest Division of the Western Athletic Conference, Lamar is in his first year as a league member as the Texans face UTRGV for Tarleton’s second season in WAC action.
- Tarleton and Lamar have never met on the volleyball court. Meanwhile, the Texans and the UTRGV will meet for the sixth time in the history of the program. The Texans and Vaqueros played in the spring regular season finals last season and the Texans won both clashes. Tarleton is all-time against the Vaqueros, dating back to 1986 when they were UT-Brownsville. UTRGV was formed in 2013 when UT-Brownsville and UT-Pan American merged.
- Heading into the seventh week of the season, Tarleton is the WAC’s No.5 ranked team in tag team winning percentage. Tarleton starts the week with a 0.216 score on the league’s fifth-lowest errors. Saturday’s game against the UTRGV will be a showdown of two of the league’s best offensives as the Texans face third hitter Vaqueros (0.223).
- Of the top 10 individual leaders by total casualties in the WAC, six of them reside in the Southwest Division with Lauren Kersey at No. 3 in the division and at No. 4 in the WAC with 201 kills. His 3.26 kills per set are ranked # 4 in the division and # 7 in the WAC.
- Lorin McNeil turned out to be one of the elite blockers in the Western Athletic Conference. In 16 games, McNeil ranks No.1 in the WAC in total blocks (63.0) and sixth in the WAC in blocks per set (1.05).
- As a team, Tarleton has hit 0.250 or more in six of its last 11 games with a 0.400 hit percentage against a season-high St. Thomas. The Texans had 45 kills with seven errors at the season low on 95 swings against the Tommies. It was Tarleton’s first 0.400 performance as a Division I program, the 18th in program history and the first since striking .408 against Midwestern State on October 26, 2018.
- Tarleton had a season-high 10 serve aces in his Texas Southern sweep. It was the first time Tarleton had 10 aces in a game since November 22, 2019 in a sweep against Texas Woman’s.
- Amari franklin has returned to the limelight of the setters for the Texans. Franklin transferred to Tarleton as a passer ahead of the 2019 season and spent last spring moving to the outside hitter. Her 15 assists against Sam Houston last Thursday are the most important for Franklin since distributing 20 assists against West Texas A&M on October 22, 2019.
- WAC-ESPN + ENTERS A THREE-YEAR PARTNERSHIP: Continuing a relationship that spans more than 31 years, the Western Athletic Conference and ESPN have announced a new multi-year, cross-platform media rights agreement that will see more than 500 annual events on ESPN + and the ESPN app.
- FOUR NEW MEMBERS, ONE IN PROGRESS: Just a year after welcoming two schools to the league in Dixie State and Tarleton, the WAC has once again opened its arms by bringing in the “Texas 4” group of Abilene Christian, Stephen F. Austin, Sam Houston and Lamar. Tarleton will also bring southern Utah next year to increase by seven members over a three-year period.
- LONE STAR STATE OWNER: With the addition of the four Texas schools, the WAC now has the largest conference presence of any conference in the country at the NCAA Division I level in the State of Texas.
- LEAGUE DIVISIONS: With the addition of the four Texas schools, the WAC has moved into two divisions for the first time since 2004. The Texans are part of the Southwest Division which includes the six Texas schools in the league – Tarleton, ACU, SFA, Sam Houston, Lamar and UTRGV.
- PRE-SEASON SURVEY: Tarleton was selected to finish third in the Southwest Division of the Western Athletic Conference. With 15 points, the Texans were selected behind SFA (24) and Sam Houston (21) in a division that includes all six Texas schools in the league.
1000 KILL CLUB
Strange Amber and Lauren Kersey both eclipsed 1,000 career wins for their careers and will spend the remainder of the season climbing up Tarleton’s all-time kills list. The full list of the top 10 is as follows:
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1,000 TEAMMATES TO KILL
Lauren Kersey and Strange Amber have both joined the exclusive company with over 1,000 career victories. They are the second group of teammates in program history to play with over 1,000 eliminations. Previously, Marissa Galich and Sharon Lister at the end of the 1998 season were the only other teammates to have killed 1000 to have played together in the history of the program.
TEXAN TRIO FOR RECORD BOOKS
Only once in Tarleton’s program history has a passer totaled at least 2,500 career assists alongside a hitter with at least 1,000 career kills – Danielle Barker and Stacie Murrah in 2013. With more 2,500 assists, Kayla brannon becomes the second player in program history to play alongside a teammate with 1,000 career wins and the first in program history to pass to two of those teammates – Lauren Kersey and Strange Amber.
Kayla brannon is in the all-time top 5 among Tarleton assist leaders. Last season, she hit the 2,000 assists mark on a kill of Lauren Kersey for the 30th point (16-14) of the third set against Dixie State on March 9. Brannon is Tarleton’s sixth top 10 player in assists to have played under the direction of the head coach. Marie schindler, which is also # 9 on the list. She passed Christina Ortiz in the win over UC San Diego on the same day she settled down Lauren Kersey 1,000th killed in career. The full list of the top 10 is as follows:
- SUPER SENIOR SEASON: The spring semester did not count as an eligibility season for student-athletes across the country. Strange Amber and Natalya Chatham were given the opportunity to return for an additional season of competition.
- WHAT THEY’RE SAYING – PROGRAM ON THE RISE: On July 6 in the El Paso Herald-Post, UTEP head coach Ben Wallis said the following about Tarleton’s volleyball program: his head coach Marie schindler. “
- KERSEY ALL WAC: Since joining the Western Athletic Conference in 2020, Lauren Kersey has been a mainstay of the All-WAC teams. The senior from Norman, Oklahoma was a first-team All-WAC selection after the spring season and is an All-WAC preseason selection this fall.
- NOTHING BETTER THAN BEING AT HOME: Tarleton racked up frequent flyer miles in the first three weeks of the season. The Texans have traveled from Stephenville to Miami to New York and California for tournaments. Tarleton covered 9,512 miles in the first three weeks, but will play in the State of Texas for the remainder of the season. In addition to long trips, Tarleton has played 13 road games since hosting Eastern Washington on September 1.
- MEET THE DIVISION’S TOP COACHS: The Southwest Division of the WAC includes some of the most famous coaches of the Western Athletic Conference. After facing off against the two most successful coaches in the division, Brenda Gray (737) of the SHSU and Debbie Humphreys (761) of the SFA, Marie schindler and his 337 career wins will now go to UTRGV coach Todd Lowery, who holds the third-most wins in the WAC Southwest Division (513).
- IMPOSSIBLE TO SPELL KERSEY WITHOUT AK (MAL): Although the reclassification of student-athletes and programs is not eligible for national statistical rankings, Lauren Kersey still proves to be one of the best in the country for the total number of victims. The Tarleton senior is one of 96 NCAA Division I players nationwide to hit the top 200 in kills. She is one of four WAC players with over 200 kills and joins Bellarmine’s Jayme Scott (205) as the only player on the reclassification teams to reach the mark.
- BEST BIZ BLOCKER: Although the reclassification of student-athletes and programs is not eligible for national statistical rankings, Lorin McNeil still turns out to be one of the best in the country for the total number of blocks. The Tarleton senior is tied at No. 58 nationally with 65 blocks overall and she leads all reclassification players in that category.
TO BE FOLLOWED FOR TARLETON
Tarleton will host Prairie View A&M and Abilene Christian next Thursday and Saturday at Wisdom Gym. The Texans and Panthers meet next Thursday at 6 p.m. before the Wildcats come to town to rekindle an old rivalry on Saturday afternoon.