Lady Lions continue conference homestand

FORT SMITH — The UAFS volleyball team will continue its homestand at noon on Saturday when it hosts the Newman University Lady Jets in Heartland Conference play at the Stubblefield Center.

UAFS (3-2, 1-0), which was the preseason favorite to win the conference title, opened league play on Thursday night with a sweep of Oklahoma Panhandle State University at the Stubblefield Center.

It will be the eight meeting between UAFS and Newman in the all-time series. UAFS leads the series 6-1 and has won the previous four meetings.

Newman University (2-3, 0-1), which is under the direction of first-year head coach Natalie Rawson, opened conference play on Thursday night with a three-set loss at Dallas Baptist.

It was the second consecutive loss for the Lady Jets, whose wins were against South Dakota School of Mines (3-2) and William Jewel (3-0) and losses were against Chadron State (3-2), Black Hills State (3-2) and Dallas Baptist.

UAM falls to UWA in Invite opener

MONTICELLO – The University of Arkansas at Monticello volleyball team was defeated in four sets by West Alabama on Thursday in the opening match of the 2013 Hampton Inn Invitational that will feature 12 more matches that conclude today.

Final game scores were 23-25, 18-25, 25-19 and 20-25.

After allowing the Lady Tigers (4-1) to take the first two sets, the Blossoms (3-3) rallied back in the third set using a .250 team hitting percentage, while holding UWA to negative numbers in the frame.

Senior Tori Bozzo continued her streak of leading the team in kills with 12 on 28 attempts with five errors for a final .250 percentage. Junior teammate Jessica Cuba picked up her second double-digit performance of the season with 10 kills on 24 attempts.

Cuba and senior Tusalava Kuaea each reached double-digits in digs. Kuaea led the team with 13, followed by Cuba’s 12. Junior Christina Rini aided to the UAM defensive front with four of UAM’s seven total blocks.

Blossoms battle Missouri Southern to four sets

MONTICELLO — The University of Arkansas at Monticello volleyball team was defeated by Missouri Southern State in four sets on Friday night in the final match of the day at the Hampton Inn Invitational. Final game scores were 23-25, 25-13, 27-29 and 22-25.

A pair of UAM juniors finished in the double-digits offensively, with Gabriella Jandotti leading the way with 11 kills on 24 attempts with five errors for a .250 percentage. Jessica Cuba trailed closely with 10 kills on 29 attempts with four errors.

Senior Tusalava Kuaea anchored UAM’s defense with 14 digs, her seventh straight match reaching double-digits in the category.

Katie Politte led Missouri Southern with 18 kills. Payton Graves added 12.

The Hampton Inn Invitational concludes today with six more matches spread out across two gymnasiums on the UAM campus. The Blossoms are set for their final match in the event at 11:30 a.m. against Kentucky Wesleyan inside Steelman Field House.

In other matches during the first day of the tournament, West Alabama went 1-1 with a five-set win over Kentucky Wesleyan and a five-set loss to Southern Arkansas. Union University dropped both of its matches with four-set losses to UAM and Southern Arkansas. KWC responded from its loss to West Alabama with a four-set win over Missouri Southern. Southern Arkansas was the only team to win both of its matches on Friday.

Begic helps UALR down Northern Illinois

LAS CRUCES, N.M. – Junior Edina Begic hit a blistering .488 (23 kills and only two errors on 43 swings) to help UALR (3-4) to a 25-16, 25-21, 25-21 win over Northern Illinois (4-4) in the Trojans first match of the NM State Tournament in Las Cruces, N.M.

UALR held a slim 40-38 edge in kills over the Huskies while both teams had 37 digs, but the Trojans were able to take an 11-1 edge at the net in the victory. The Trojans also hit .317 (40 kills and eight errors on 101 swings) while forcing Northern Illinois into 27 errors (.093 hitting percentage).

Individually, Begic’s 23 kills is a career-best for her in a three-set match. Junior Marleen de Zoete contributed 32 assists while classmate Allison Wyatt added a season-best 16 digs. Begic also dug out 12 balls for her fifth double-double of the season.

A-State Volleyball earns split

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The Arkansas State volleyball team defeated UT Martin (6-4) in its first match of the day by a score of 3-1 (15-25, 25-12, 25-17, 25-21), but later fell to Alabama 3-0 (25-14, 25-12, 25-23) in the first day of the Hampton Inn Bama Bash.

A-State’s attacks were pretty evenly distributed as five players had at least 16 attacks and four players had at least eight kills, with Sadie Clark and Kelsey Sullivan leading the way with 11 kills each. Jackie Gerig led A-State in handing out assists with 36 and Kemp added three service aces with no service errors during the match. Defensively, Megan Baska led the Red Wolves with 16 digs while Sullivan recorded five total blocks.

In the second match of the day against Alabama, Sullivan led A-State with nine kills in the match on a .389 hitting percentage. Gerig led the Red Wolves with 23 assists and also added two kills. Defensively, Baska led A-State with 13 digs, while Markie Schaedig added eight digs of her own.

The Red Wolves will square off against Nicholls State at 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 14 in its final contest at the Hampton Inn Bama Bash.

Harding opens season with wins

FLORENCE, Ala. – The Harding volleyball team picked up two wins on Friday in the first day of the North Alabama Tournament.

HU defeated Christian Brothers 3-2 to open the tournament and then defeated Missouri-St. Louis 3-1. The Lady Bisons improved to 4-3 on the season.

In the first match, senior outside hitter Mollie Arnold captured a double-double with a season-high 25 kills and 16 digs. It was the 15th time in her career she has had over 20 kills in a match. Senior defensive specialist Lisa Copeland had a season-high 22 digs. It was the ninth time in her career she has had 20 or more digs in a match. Junior middle blocker Liv Savage had a career-high 10 blocks in the match. Savage also had nine kills.

In the second match, Arnold led HU with 17 kills. Junior outside hitter Marindia Turner had a season-high 14 kills and senior middle blocker Alyssa Short had 11 kills. Short also hit for a match-high .526 hitting percentage.

Copeland had 15 digs to let the Lady Bison defense. She also tied a career-high with four service aces.

The Lady Bisons will wrap up the tournament tomorrow as they take on Missouri S&T at 2 p.m., and then face Northwood at 6 p.m.