Two steps back, one step forward

Reddies earn ninth sweep of season, defeat Muleriders in three sets


Donovan Lee

Junior setter Taylor Scalzi serving during the Reddies’ match against SAU.

Donovan Lee, Sports Editor / HTV Station Manager

ARKADELPHIA, AR– Just days prior, Henderson State (12-4, 2-2 GAC) suffered two consecutives losses to begin their conference season. With a chance to regroup, the Reddies hosted Southern Arkansas on Tuesday night at the Duke-Wells. HSU hasn’t lost to SAU since 2016 and defeated the Muleriders in all three meetings during the 2020-2021 season.

To begin the match, Henderson came out of the huddle with intensity, scoring in twos and threes. HSU gained the lead at 10-9 and never trailed again in the set. Junior outside hitter Mya Robinson led the team with five kills through the first set. With flurries of offense, the Reddies were able to capture the first set, 25-21.

Continuing their efforts from set one the Reddies used service aces to their advantage, starting with junior outside hitter Violeta Mendoza Quintana, who notched two aces of her own, followed by freshman setter Madison Hatt with a pair to add to the stat sheet. SAU struggled to return the ball over the net, causing them a chance to even the match. To their dismay, the Muleriders took an 0-2 deficit heading into the third set with a chance for HSU to complete the match sweep.

With the match seemingly in their hands, Reddies head coach Phil McDaniel brought in the reinforcements to seal the deal. The fresh faces on the court for the Reddies continued to apply pressure on the Muleriders through the potential match set. Attack errors plagued SAU, while HSU went on a spree, accumulating 10 kills in the third set, five of them credited to freshman outside hitter Christiane Uzoh. With a five-point scoring attack midway through the set, it was the nail in the coffin for the visiting team. Henderson State earned their ninth sweep of the season with a win over SAU (25-21, 25-9, 25-15).

The Reddies were able to even their conference record at 2-2, heading into the month of October. Robinson finished the match with nine kills and 23 total attacks, a team high. Junior libero Makenzie Thoman led the team in digs with 10 on the night, and junior setter Taylor Scalzi wrapped up her performance with 19 assists. The Reddies dominated every major stat category, including total points (54-30), aces (8-1), and blocks (9-4).

Henderson State returns to action on Sept. 30, when they take on Arkansas-Monticello on the road. HSU has defeated the Cotton Blossoms in seven of the last eight meetings between the two conference foes. The first serve will be at 6 p.m.