Ladyjacks face Islanders in Southland Conference opener

Senior outside hitter Xariah Williams (left) and senior middle blocker Danae Daron jump to block a spike. Both Williams and Daron earned All-Tournament honors in the past four invitational tournaments.

The Ladyjacks volleyball team begin their Southland Conference play against Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday and against University of the Incarnate Word at 1 p.m. on Saturday in Shelton Gym.

SFA has gone 12-1 for the season playing at four invitational tournaments and winning three invitational championships. They hold a five-game winning streak and a .923 winning percentage. Throughout these tournaments, several players have received accolades.

Last week, junior defensive setter Madelynn Miller was named the Southland Conference Defensive Player of the Week. Continuing to make history for the volleyball program, senior middle blocker Danae Daron now holds one of two top six single-match attack percentage marks in SFA history after her .909 attacking percentage in the match against Prairie View A&M. The achievement also stands as the fourth-highest percentage in a single match by an NCAA Division 1 volleyball player this season.

After nine sets played in the Maverick Invitational this past weekend, senior outside hitter Xariah Williams was named MVP of the tournament. Daron and Miller earned spots on the All-Tournament Team, as well. Williams had a match-high of 13 kills against the University of Texas in Arlington along with one block.

Senior setter Ann Hollas recorded another double- double in Saturday’s match with 10 kills and 22 assists. The defensive end of the game was assisted by junior middle blocker Taya Mitchell who contributed with eight blocks, four kills and a dig.

SFA’s last meet up with the Islanders was in the first round of the SLC tournament after the Islanders finished eighth in the conference. The Islanders won the only set against the Ladyjacks for the tournament going 3-1. TAMUCC have an 8-6 overall record, a 1-0 conference record and a .571 winning percentage.

The Islanders began their conference play against Southeastern Louisiana earning a 3-2 win. The team has a .227 attacking percentage and allowing opponents to have a .225 attacking percentage. TAMUCC has totaled 775 digs, averaging 14.4 digs per set.

Leading the team offensively is senior setter/opposite Madison Green with 123 kills, averaging 2.37 kills per set and a .315 attacking percentage. Following Green, sophomore middle blocker Sam Dumity is up with 111 kills, averaging 2.09 kills per set and a .233 attacking percentage.

On TAMUCC defense, freshman libero Carissa Barnes leads the team with 259 digs, averaging 4.8 digs per set. Sophomore outside hitter Julia Carter leads in blocks with six and 10 block assists.

The matchup against UIW will be its seventh meet up against the Ladyjacks. The Cardinals hold a 4-10 overall record and a .286 winning percentage. Their first conference game will be on Thursday against Abilene Christian University before heading to Nacogdoches.

UIW finished ninth in the SLC last season, barely missing a spot in the conference tournament with a 7-9 conference record. The team has a .196 attacking percentage and allowing opponents a .250 attacking percentage. Leading the Cardinal in kills is sophomore outside hitter Bethany Clapp with 158 kills this season, averaging 2.98 per set and a .216 attacking percentage.

Another offensive contributor for UIW is junior outside hitter Julia Monday with 117 kills, averaging 2.29 kills per set and a .180 attacking percentage.

On defense, junior defensive setter/libero Alyssa Carline has totaled 210 digs, averaging 3.96 digs per set. Clapp has also contributed with the team’s defense with 101 digs, averaging 1.91 digs per set, four blocks and 26 block assists.

After Saturday’s game, the Ladyjacks will face Lamar University at 7 p.m. on Oct. 3 in Beaumont.

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