HOUSTON, Texas — The University of Central Arkansas Sugar Bears opened their 2011 volleyball season with a 3-0 loss to the Xavier Muskateers on Friday afternoon in their first match at the Flo Hyman Intercollegiate Classic. Xavier (2-0) earned victories of 25-19, 29-27 and 25-13.
Xavier, who advanced to the Atlantic 10 Championship game in 2010, hit a sultry .373 on the afternoon, compared to UCA’s mark of .176 to help secure the victory. The Muskateers also held an advantage at the net with 11 total team blocks to UCA’s three. In addition, Xavier collected nine service aces in the contest.
Senior outside hitter Jessica Hays led the way for the Sugar Bears in the losing effort as she posted a team-high nine kills to go along with four digs. Jessica Nagy chipped in eight kills and two block assists, while Taylor Hammonds added seven kills of her own. The Southland Conference 2010 freshman setter of the year, Marissa Collins, posted team-bests with 25 assists and six digs.
The Muskateers were led to victory by Sarah Brown who posted a match-best 11 kills, four digs and three block assists. Alex Smith had seven kills on just 11 total attacks and a match-high eight block assists. Back-to-back Atlantic 10 libero of the year, Stephanie Vorherr, added 11 digs in the contest while Alex Blair landed four kills and a match-high six aces.
The highlight of the day for the Sugar Bears came in the second set where, as a team, UCA mustered a hitting percentage of .407. Hays had five of her nine kills in the set. UCA was serving to take the set with the score 26-25 but after an Xavier timeout the Muskateers got a kill from Smith and then a service ace from Elizabeth Lucich. A Hammonds kill would tie the game up for the final time before Xavier took the next two points to close out the set with a 29-27 victory.
UCA is back in action Saturday as they will take on Lipscomb at 2 p.m. before going up against host Houston at 7 p.m.