Lady Lions drop tough matches in opener

FORT SMITH - UAFS volleyball coach Jane Sargent has never been one to shy away from playing tough competition. Not even in her own invitational.

The Lady Lions lost a pair of hard-fought matches to Texas Woman’s University and Harding University on Friday in the first round of the UAFS Mary Beth Sudduth Invitational at the Stubblefield Center.

UAFS (4-4) will look to bounce back today when they host Heartland Conference foe Dallas Baptist in what will be a league match at 10 a.m. and No. 11 Washburn at 6 p.m. in the invitational finale.

After stunning No. 11 Washburn in four sets in the first match of the invitational, Texas Woman’s University rallied from a two-set deficit to beat UAFS in the second match of the invitational.

Texas Woman’s won the match 25-23, 22-25, 20-25, 25-17, 15-8.

Junior Michelle Walker led UAFS with 14 kills while senior Stephanie Brock had 22 assists. Freshman Emily Tripp led UAFS with 30 digs.

Harding won the second match 25-22, 22-25, 25-23, 25-19.

Senior Jordan Erz led UAFS with 11 kills, while freshman Maja Krstonosic had 32 assists. Tripp had 28 digs, and senior Jordan Pickett and Erz each had one solo block and three block assists.

Harding wins two at UAFS invite

FORT SMITH, Ark. – The Harding volleyball team picked up two regional wins on Friday in the first day of the Arkansas-Fort Smith Tournament.

HU defeated Dallas Baptist 3-1 and Arkansas-Fort Smith 3-1. The Lady Bisons improved to 8-4 on the season.

In the first match, senior outside hitter Mollie Arnold led HU with 18 kills and 18 digs. Junior setter Taryn Eubank had 41 assists and a season-high 20 digs. Junior defensive specialist Lisa Copeland had a career-high 29 digs. It was Copeland’s fourth straight match with 20 or more digs.

As a team, the Lady Bisons had a season-high 108 digs. The last time HU had over 100 digs was last season against Southwestern Oklahoma the Great American Conference Tournament as the Lady Bisons finished with 100. It was the most digs since HU had 120 against Southern Arkansas in 2011.

In the second match, Arnold led HU with 20 kills and a team-high 18 digs. Junior outside hitter Marindia Turner had a season-high 15 kills and tied a career high 13 digs. It was her third career double-double. Eubank had 45 assists and 14 digs.

Senior middle blocker Alyssa Short and junior middle blocker Liv Savage both had four blocks for HU.

The Lady Bisons will wrap up the tournament today as they take on No. 11 Washburn at 10 a.m., and then face Texas Woman’s at 2 p.m.

UALR inches closer to tournament crown

MEMPHIS — The Trojans lost the first set of the day, but won the next six sets played as UALR (7-4) move into position to clinch its second straight tournament title with a 19-25, 25-18, 25-15, 25-17 win over Austin Peay (3-11) and a 25-18, 25-21, 25-21 win over Memphis (7-5).

UALR is on a five match winning streak and evened the all-time series with the Tigers at 8-8.

For the day, junior Edina Begic paced UALR with 33 kills and 23 digs. With 16 kills and 14 digs against the Tigers, Begic recorded her seventh double-double in 11 matches this season. Sophomore Sonja Milanovic added 22 kills.

Junior Marleen de Zoete was successful on 6-of-12 shots (.500 hitting percentage), including 5-of-7 (.714 hitting percentage) against Austin Peay alone. She also added 70 assists.

UALR looks to complete the second tournament sweep in as many weeks today when it plays La Salle (1-14). It will be the Trojans first match ever against the Explorers.

A-State drops match to UAB

NASHVILLE — The Arkansas State volleyball team fell to UAB (11-3) in straight sets 3-0 (25-14, 25-20, 25-18) Friday in the opening game of the Belmont Bruin Classic.

The Red Wolves were led in kills by Sarah Kemp, who registered 10, while Sadie Clark and Kelsey Sullivan added 5 kills each. Gerig handed out 22 assists to pace A-State from the setter position. Defensively, the Red Wolves were led by Megan Baska’s 12 digs and Kelsey Sullivan’s four blocks, including one block solo.

The Red Wolves are now 4-8 on the season and conclude play in the Belmont Bruin Classic Saturday, Sept. 21. A-State takes on host Belmont at 12:30 p.m., before playing Mississippi State at 3:30 p.m.

Tech wins five-set battle

RUSSELLVILLE — Middle blockers, sophomore Katie Huff and senior Sara Motsinger, carried the team offensively tallying 19 kills each, while sophomore Morgan McKellar totaled 37 digs on the back-line as the Arkansas Tech Golden Suns (7-3) topped the Dallas Baptist Patriots (4-4) 3-2 Thursday at Tucker Coliseum.

Junior Emily Todd notched her first double-double on the season with 14 kills and 19 digs, while senior Amber Cerrillos also notched a double-double with 59 assists and 18 digs. Freshman Kaylee Konsella added nine kills and five blocks. At least five players earned double-digit digs.

McKellar almost set a school record with her 37 digs, placing her in second with Stacy Burnett-Mallett holding first place with 39 digs.

The Golden Suns will host Harding at Tucker Coliseum for Pack-the-Stands night on Sept. 24 at 6 p.m.