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Bobcats bring out the claws for two close wins


Sophomore Janell Fitzgerald celebrates a kill in a comeback rally against Appalachian State on Sunday. Photo courtesy of Texas State Athletics.

After a two-game road trip and a five-set nailbiter that almost cost them their chance to finish at the top of the Sun Belt Conference, Texas State volleyball escaped with two victories over the weekend. The team fought through a 3-1 win over Coastal Carolina on Friday and stayed in the Carolinas to weather a 3-2 victory over Appalachian State on Sunday.
The Bobcats improved to 18-7 and 10-1 in the Sun Belt Conference.
In by far their biggest comeback of the season, Texas State defeated Appalachian State 3-2 (16-25, 24-26, 25-16, 25-11, 16-14) on Sunday.
After a slow start in the first and second set, the Bobcats turned the tide in the third set, winning 25-16 and 25-11 before taking the win in a close 16-14 victory.
Head coach Karen Chisum said the final set was surprisingly nervewracking for her.
“I don’t get nervous too much anymore, but when we were 13-13 in the fifth set, let me tell you I was nervous,” Chisum said. “But you know, we’ve swept a lot of people 3-0 this season and we knew that’s all we needed to do then.”
The Bobcats led the Mountaineers in kills (64-46), assists (60-43), and digs (61-49). Each team had seven aces and the Mountaineers recorded one more block than the Bobcats (15-14).
Following her dominant performance on Friday, sophomore Janell Fitzgerald once again led the Bobcats in kills with 18 on .282 hitting percentage alongside five blocks. Junior middle blocker Tyeranee Scott also came up big with 14 kills on a .429 hitting percentage and led the team with seven blocks. Senior outside hitter Cheyenne Huskey finished with 14 kills followed by freshman outside Lauren Teske’s 11. Sophomore setter Emily DeWalt recorded 44 assists to go with her two aces.
The last-second victory came dow to the character of each Bobcat teammate, Chisum said.
“We were on the bench just before the third set, and I told them, ‘we’ve talked about character all year long,’” Chisum said. “‘You’ve got character, you’ve got guts, you’re winners, you’re confident. Let’s just move forward from here.’”
Earlier in the weekend, Texas State beat the previously-undefeated Coastal Carolina 3-1 (25-23, 27-29, 25-23, 25-18) Friday night at the HTC Center. This moved the Bobcats into first place in the Sun Belt as they gave the Chanticleers their first conference loss.
Texas State outhit the Chants .286-.212. They also led in kills (61-51), assists (56-50), digs (55-45), and aces (6-4).
Fitzgerald led the way for the Bobcats with 17 kills and a .500 hitting percentage. Huskey recorded her third consecutive double-double with 14 kills and a team high 13 digs. Teske registered a career-high 14 kills while Scott added 10 kills. DeWalt had a season-high 50 assists which marked her fifth 50-plus assists performance in her career, finishing with five digs, two kills, and two blocks. Junior libero Brooke Johnson also finished with double-digit digs with 10.
Despite a strong Coastal hitter who recorded 26 kills in the match, Chisum said the ‘Cats could overcome the team due to their depth of field.
“Here’s the key: they had two good players, but we had six on the court at all times,” Chisum said. “We were able to distribute the ball to various people and we could key in on their top two hitters. I think we’re a much better all-around team and we proved that on Friday.”
The successful weekend paid off for the Bobcats, and both Teske and DeWalt earned Sun Belt weekly awards. DeWalt received Setter of the Week for the second week in a row after her 94 assists this weekend, and Teske earned her first Sun Belt accolade with the Freshman of the Week award after her career-setting 14 kills against Coastal Carolina.
Texas State will travel to Louisiana next weekend to take on ULM on Friday and Lafayette on Sunday to conclude their four-match road trip.
Stay updated on everything Texas State volleyball by following the team on Facebook, Twitter,and Instagram.

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