Stephenville, Texas – Backed by the inherent home-court advantage provided by hosting its own tournament, Tarleton State University narrowly clipped the St. Mary’s University volleyball team to open the TexAnn Invitational on Friday.

The Rattlers fell in five sets (25-22, 26-28, 20-25, 25-21, 7-15) in the first of two matches on the night. Texas A&M University-Commerce later defeated the Rattlers in three sets (19-25, 15-25, 26-28).

St. Mary’s (2-5) will resume play Saturday, first facing Cameron University at 9:30 a.m. and later Midwestern State University at 2:30 p.m.

The Rattlers enjoyed production from across the board against Tarleton State, with junior middle blocker Kirsten Chapman (Jourdanton, Texas) hitting .571, senior setter Allie Murray (San Antonio) recording 31 assists and three players notching double-digit digs. Junior defensive specialist Stephanie Flores (San Antonio) led the team with 18 digs, while senior outside hitter Kate Kershner (San Antonio) had 12 and freshman outside hitter/defensive specialist Karlie Ortega (San Antonio) added 11.

The Rattlers stormed back from a 1-2 deficit to even the match at 2-2 by taking the fourth set 25-21, but it wasn’t enough as unbeaten Tarleton State (6-0) won the fifth and final set 15-7.

Things were just as tight against Texas A&M-Commerce, even if the match didn’t last five sets, as St. Mary’s lost the first and third sets by a total of just eight points. Against A&M-Commerce, Flores had a team-high 16 digs, followed by Kershner’s 12.

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