The University of Central Arkansas Beach Bears were rather methodical in defeating UT Martin on Thursday in the first collegiate beach volleyball match ever held in the state.
UCA (11-3) swept the Skyhawks (0-13), 5-0, and also won the exhibition match, all in straight sets.
"It was not as much anxiety for this match as excitement," said UCA coach Jeni Jones Chatman. "We’ve known this day was coming and it was great to have nice weather and a great atmosphere and we executed well."
The contest at UCA’s new courts near the HPER building was a preliminary to the Smoothie King UCA Invitational that will begin Friday and continue Saturday. UCA will play Houston Baptist at 9:30 a.m. Friday and UT Martin again at 2 p.m. UCA will conclude the tournament against Louisiana-Monroe at 11 a.m. Saturday.
The Sugar Bears have beaten every team in the tournament this season. UT Martin is a first-year program like UCA.
"I saw a laundry list of improvements since we played them (the Skyhawks) in our first tourney of the season," Chatman said. "Our ball control was better, our setting was more effective and our decision-making process in better."
UCA clinched the match in the first three flights.
Hailey Tippett and Megan Nash won at No. 1, 21-14, 21-8, with Nash ending the match with a wicked kill to the sideline. Kristine Hjembo and Stephanie Pollnow took the No. 2 match, 21-7, 21-11. Kate Elman and Heather Schars won at No. 3, 21-8, 21-14. Kellen Dunn and MC Rogers prevailed at the fourth spot, 21-4, 21-14. Amy South and Mackenzie Dear won at No. 5, 21-10, 21-10. Abbie Harry and Kimberly Schnars won the exhibition match, 21-13, 21-15.