VOLLEYBALL: YellowJackets fight hard in opening day of ASC Crossover Challenge
TYLER, Texas – The LeTourneau YellowJackets were turned away empty-handed despite two solid performances in their opening matches of the American Southwest Conference Dig Pink Crossover Challenge at UT Tyler on Friday.
The Jackets dropped a three-game decision to ASC West-leading Hardin-Simmons in their opening match before falling to Concordia in a hard-fought four-game match to conclude Friday's action.
LeTourneau will play its final two matches of the Crossover Challenge on Saturday when they face Howard Payne and McMurry in back-to-back contests. The Jackets face Howard Payne at 12:30 p.m. at the Herrington Patriot Center at UT Tyler.
CONCORDIA TEXAS 3, LeTOURNEAU 1
Jo Runnels knocked down a team-high 12 kills and two YellowJacket players recorded 15 digs as LeTourneau gave the Concordia Tornados all they could handle before succumbing in four games.
Scores of the match were 25-10, 19-25, 25-8 and 25-23.
Kalynn White turned in a double-double performance to lead the Tornados, knocking down 14 kills and picking up 14 digs.
Chelsea Bowers (Anaheim, Calif./Orange Lutheran) registered eight kills for the YellowJackets during the match. Shana Evans (Gladewater, Texas/Gladewater) and Jessica Zabojnik (Burleson, Texas/Burleson) led the LeTourneau defensive effort with 15 digs apiece.
The YellowJackets recovered from a slow start in game one and took control when the teams reconvened for the second set. LeTourneau began to establish control when it used a 6-2 run to establish a 13-7 lead for the Jackets.
The Tornados cut LeTourneau's lead to 13-10, but the blue-and-gold swarm pushed the second set out of reach of its opponents when the Jackets reeled off eight of the next nine points. Runnels (Channelview, Texas/Channelview) served consecutive aces and Bowers knocked down two kills during that run as the Jackets took a 20-11 lead.
Concordia managed to fight back and pull to within three points again at 22-19, but two kills by Runnels and an attacking error by White gave the Jackets the set.
After the Tornados took game three in convincing fashion, the Jackets regrouped and matched their opponents virtually step-for-step before Concordia prevailed in an exciting set.
Game four featured 15 ties and six lead changes and no team held more than a two-point lead in the set.
The Tors gained the upper-hand when they took a 23-22 lead, but the Jackets prevailed on the next point after a seven-play rally. Bowers tied the game at 23 after Doran saved the rally with a difficult dig off a Concordia attack, but the Tornados scored the next two points to take the match.
HARDIN-SIMMONS 3, LeTOURNEAU 0
Madison Reyes tallied a match-high 14 kills to lead the ASC West-leading Cowgirls to a three-game victory over LeTourneau to open Crossover Challenge action on Friday.
Scores of the match were 25-14, 26-24 and 25-10.
Runnels led the YellowJackets with seven kills in the match. The sophomore outside hitter from the greater Houston area has led or tied for the team lead in kills for nine consecutive matches.
Bowers added six kills for the YellowJackets, and both she and Runnels accounted for seven and a half points for LeTourneau.
The Cowgirls never trailed in game two, but they did have to fend off a spirited comeback by the Jackets late in the set. Hardin-Simmons squandered a 23-19 lead when LeTourneau embarked on a 5-1 run to tie the score at 24.
The Jackets staved off three consecutive game points with the score 24-21 when Runnels knocked down two kills following an HSU ball-handling error.
After the Jackets tied the score, HSU seized the momentum again when Reyes knocked down another kill. An LETU error followed to give the Cowgirls a hard-earned two-point win.
Evans led the Jackets with seven digs in the game. Doran led the team with nine assists.