HOUSTON, Texas. — The University of Central Arkansas Sugar Bears (1-2) concluded play Saturday at the Flo Hyman Intercollegiate with a split. The Bears earned their first victory of the season with a 3-2 win over defending Atlantic Sun Champions Lipscomb before dropping the finale to the host team Houston, 3-1.

Jessica Hays earned All-Tournament honors for the Sugar Bears, while Houston’s Stephanie Nwachukwu was named tournament MVP. For the tournament, Hays tallied 43 kills and 26 digs.  

UCA 3, Lipscomb 2

UCA came out red hot, poised for a three-game sweep in the opener, taking the first two games 26-24 and 25-22 before Lipscomb reeled off two 25-18 decisions in a row. It led to an exciting third set which resulted in a 15-13 score giving UCA head coach David McFatrich the first victory of his coaching career.

With the fifth and final set tied at 13 apiece, Hays recorded her 22nd kill of the match to give the Bears a 14-13 advantage. UCA sealed the win when Taylor Hammonds and Karlie Giesler teamed up to block an attack attempt by Lipscomb’s Charlyn Ursell.

UCA was led by Hays’ 22 kills and 14 digs. Hammonds and Jessica Nagy added 12 and 10 kills respectively and six block assists, including five by Hammonds. Sophomore setter Marissa Collins had a big match with 46 assists and seven digs and senior libero Cristin Curl had a team-high 21 digs.

Houston 3, UCA 1

The Sugar Bears battled but could not earn their second victory Saturday as they fell 3-1 to Houston (3-0). The Cougars took the first game 25-14 before UCA equalized the match with a 25-21 victory in the second set. Houston went on to record wins of 25-18 and 25-19, sealing the win.

The Cougars were able to keep UCA’s offensive attack in check as they held the Sugar Bears to a hitting percentage of just .103. Meanwhile, the Cougars hit .337 for the match including a .400 mark in the third set.

Hays and Hammonds each added 12 kills in the losing effort. Collins added 36 assists and three digs while Curl posted 14 digs. Junior outside hitter Lindsey Barron recorded seven kills and one solo block.

Katie Norris posted a match-high 16 kills, nine digs and seven blocks to lead the way for Houston. Nwachukwu, the tournament MVP, added 15 kills for the Cougars.

UCA will be back in action next weekend when they travel to Lubbock, Texas for the Texas Tech Invitational..