Nov. 17, 2007
SAN ANTONIO, Texas - Two down, one to go.
The Stephen F. Austin volleyball team punched its ticket to the Southland Conference Tournament championship match with a 3-0 (30-22, 30-14, 30-18) win over Northwestern State in the SLC semifinals, and will now need one more win to defend its SLC Tournament title from a year ago.
SFA (27-7) has never dropped a match to Northwestern State (11-16) under Debbie Humphreys, running her record to 32-0 all-time against the Demons.
Never in question, the Ladyjacks made a statement in front of an enthusiastic SFA crowd that made the trip to San Antonio by hitting .339 on the afternoon, only missing the mark 10 times in 109 attempts. SFA would out block the Demons 14-2 in the match, marking the second highest block total the Ladyjacks have posted this season.
The win is also the 19th sweep of the season for SFA, tying the school record for sweeps in a season.
The Ladyjacks would score the first three points of game one on their way to a 15-9 early lead behind three kills from Traci Rohde and two of Ashley Bailey's eight kills on the afternoon, eventually forcing a Demon timeout at the 19-13 mark of the first game. SFA dominated the game at the net, finishing with a 6-1 edge in blocks and hit at a .256 clip in the first frame on its way to a 30-22 win.
The story continued to be the same at the beginning of game two as SFA broke it open early as JJ Jones would serve 12 consecutive Ladyjack points, pushing the lead to 16-3 before the Demons could regain the serve. Northwestern would get back with in nine points at 18-9, but then Jones would find Rohde who would hammer home a kill to quell any momentum the Demons might have picked up. In the end it would be Jones setting up Bailey for a monster kill to put SFA at a game point opportunity. Eventually Jones would find junior Shelly Swendig for the game's final point to send the Ladyjacks into the locker room with a 2-0 advantage.
Rohde would lead the initial charge in the third stanza as well, slamming in three of her game-high six kills in SFA's first five points on their way to a 9-3 lead. Northwestern State would continue to fight, however, and pulled back to within three points before Jones switched from passer to hitter, taking a pass from freshman Whitney Schott for a deep-line kill to push the lead back to 15-11. SFA would continue to build upon its lead, as Lauren Railey would knock home three kills in the game's final 12 points, including the match point on a set from Schott.
Rohde led all players for the match, posting 12 kills for the second straight night on a .407 attack percentage and has now picked up at least a dozen kills in her last five matches and is hitting .379 in that span. She also picked up five blocks, all block assists, to move past Aubrey Duncan for th all-time lead with 433 block assists for her career.Lauren Railey would be right behind her offensively, picking up 11 kills, nine digs and five blocks while not committing a single error in 23 tries for a season-high .478 attack percentage.
The setting tandem of Jones and Schott would combine for 41 assists with Jones adding in eight kills, four blocks and four aces in another all-around effort. With her 22 assists she now just needs 11 more assists to take sole possession of the all-time lead at SFA.
With the win SFA will face Texas State at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday at the Convocation Center after the Bobcats upset the No. 1 seeded Lamar Cardinals 3-1 in the semifinals. LiveStats and video streaming of the match will be available at www.goutsa.com.