The Teams: Tarleton Texans (8-6, 0-0 WAC) at Stephen F. Austin (12-1, 0-0 WAC)
Vs. UTRGV (11-4, 0-0 WAC)
Where: Nacogdoches, Texas; Stephenville, Texas
Venue: Shelton Gym; Wisdom Volleyball Gym
Times: Thursday, 6:30 p.m. CT; Saturday, 1 p.m. CT
Streaming Platform: ESPN+ for both matches
TEXAN VOLLEYBALL MATCH DAY
At last, conference volleyball matches are here. Tarleton opens its Western Athletic Conference slate on Thursday at Stephen F. Austin in Nacogdoches.
This season’s conference schedule brings something new to the table for Tarleton. A chance to play in the WAC Volleyball Tournament. The top eight teams will advance to the tournament hosted by UTRGV in Edinburg. Texan Volleyball has an opportunity to be the first Tarleton Athletics program to participate in a Division 1 conference tournament.
Saturday brings the WAC home opener, as Tarleton hosts UTRGV at 1 p.m. CT in Wisdom Gym. Both matches can be seen on ESPN+.
Updates can be found on @TarletonVB Twitter and @TarletonVolleyball Instagram accounts. Live stats links, video links, ticket links and stats can be found on the Tarleton volleyball schedule on TarletonSports.com. The 2022 Tarleton volleyball media guide is now available and is linked here.
• Tarleton volleyball opens WAC play this week with a match at Stephen F. Austin in Nacogdoches on Thursday before returning to Wisdom Gym for its WAC home opener on Saturday vs. UTRGV.
• Tarleton is 1-2 all time vs. SFA. The Texans finished 1-1 against the Ladyjacks last season, with their last matchup ending in a Tarleton victory, 3-2, at Wisdom Gym. SFA currently sits in first place in the WAC with a 12-1 record and have wins over SMU, Tulsa, Southern Miss and Arkansas State.
• Tarleton is 2-2 all time vs. UTRGV. The Texans took the first two matches of the series on back-to-back days in the spring 2021 season. UTRGV handed the Texans two losses in the fall 2021 season, one in Edinburg and one in Stephenville. UTRGV sits at 11-4 currently. UTRGV and Tarleton have played three common opponents this season in Jacksonville University, Prairie View A&M and Texas Tech. UTRGV defeated Jacksonville and PVAMU and lost to Texas Tech. Tarleton
• Tarleton is coming off the Northern Colorado Classic in Greeley, CO, where they went 0-3, suffering three straight losses for the first time since early in the 2021 season.
• Three different players led Tarleton in kills over the three-match tournament. Grayson Schirpik, 7 vs. UNC, Ailie Hair, 13 vs. Santa Clara and Megan Haynes, 11 vs. Cal Poly each led the way offensively in what was a tough three matches.
• Freshman Ailie Hair finished the loss to Santa Clara with 13 kills. It was her fifth match of the season with 10+ kills. Hair sits second in the WAC in both hitting percentage (.387) as well as total blocks (48). She is tied for seventh in blocks per set with an even 1.00 per set and has been named the WAC Freshman of the Week twice, winning the award in consecutive weeks to start the season.
• As a team entering conference play, Tarleton ranks first in the WAC in service aces (87, 1.81/s), fifth in hitting percentage (.211), fifth in assists/set (11.52) and fifth in kills/set (12.42).
• Freshman middle blocker Emma Burke was inserted into the starting lineup for all three matches at the Northern Colorado Classic. She proceeded to tally a career-high seven blocks in the opener vs. UNC after recording a career-high five in a win over Idaho the weekend before. In the loss to Santa Clara, she added a career-high eight kills and 9.5 points scored.
• Tarleton has yet to play a full-length five-set match this season. They remain a perfect 7-0 at Wisdom Gym.
Three Hundred Fifty
Tarleton head coach Mary Schindler reached another milestone on Friday, Sept. 2, when Tarleton swept Tennessee State. The win gave Schindler 350 career wins, all while coaching at Tarleton.
Conference Tourney Time
The WAC approved reclassifying institutions to participate in all conference championships as early as this fall. This approval grants rights only for sports to compete in postseason conference play, not national postseason. The top 8 teams in the WAC move on to the conference tournament and this season Tarleton will be able to compete.
WAC Preseason Poll
Tarleton was picked to finish tied ninth out of 12 in the Western Athletic Conference. With 50 points, the Texans were picked behind league newcomer UT Arlington (54) and tied with Utah Tech (50). NM State was picked to win the league and Tarleton will travel to Las Cruces on Nov. 10.
New WAC Scheduling
This season the WAC has scrapped divisions completely after having a West and Southwest Division in 2021. The 13 teams from across the conference will play each other in preparation for the WAC Volleyball Tournament that will be held at the UTRGV Fieldhouse in Edinburg. The top 8 teams play in the conference tournament.
UP NEXT FOR TARLETON
Tarleton will resume WAC play with a match vs. Stephen F. Austin once again, this time at home. The match is slated for Thursday, Sept. 29, at 6 p.m. CT and will be streamed on ESPN+. They will then welcome UT Arlington, the new kids on the block (in the WAC), to Wisdom Gym for a match on Saturday, Oct. 1, at 1 p.m. CT that will also be streamed on ESPN+.