The Central Arkansas men’s soccer team earned a 2-0 victory over Bellarmine in the ASUN Championships Semifinal.

Karim Diao scored both goals punching the Bears ticket to the ASUN final in Nashville, Tennessee.

The Bears started quickly out of the gate when Rubyn Gill put the first shot on goal in the fifth minute. Jonathan Randall nearly found himself through on goal, but was taken down hard just seconds later by a Bellarmine defender who would then see a yellow card.

Chances would come far and few between the two sides until Zach Schawl was called into action in the 25th minute making a wonderful one-on-one save.

The Bears had opportunities after the save but were unable to put them on target, coming from Katsuyoshi Kimishima and Ole Kjoerholt.

In the 48th minute Mathias Bendiksen started a quick counter-attack before slipping a timely through ball into the feet of Diao who fired it first time into the bottom corner. It didn’t take long for Diao to grab his second of the match when Randall played a back-heel to Diao who ran into a 50/50 challenge with a defender before beating him inside and smashing a curled shot off the post and into the back of the net.

The Bears held strong at the back and nearly grabbed a third from Alberto Suarez and then again had a big chance through Kimishima, both just barely missing.

The Bears travel to Nashville, Tennessee, to take on Lipscomb in the ASUN Championship on Nov. 13, with kickoff set for 6 p.m.

Volleyball

Central Arkansas volleyball fell in a five-set heartbreaker against Eastern Kentucky as it was eliminated from postseason competition.

The Colonels took home the final berth for the ASUN Championship as the Sugar Bears could not find their rhythm in the final set.

While UCA ended up dropping the match, it was another coming-out party for a few of the newcomers.

Freshman Mackenzie Vernon hosted 17 kills, Shelbi Owens led the squad with 18 digs, and Allison Holloway posted 10 blocks.

UCA set the tone in the first set as they took advantage of a weak start for EKU in the first set victory. The Sugar Bears posted a .290 hitting percentage compared to the Colonels .091 percentage.

That mark showcased itself as UCA battled strongly throughout to win it 25-20.

The second set was much closer as the Colonels took advantage of a decrease in UCA’s offensive presence to win the set. That happened as they went on a 5-0 run after the game when the score was 17-17.

With a five-point advantage, they ran it out and eventually won in extra points 26-24.

EKU continued its roll as it took its opportunities in the next set as well. The Colonels held the Sugar Bears to their lowest hitting percentage of the night as they posted a .140 percentage for the set. That came in effect late as EKU battled a back and forth affair before eventually winning it 25-22.

UCA counteracted those two previous sets by posting their best offense showcase of the day. With a .441 hitting percentage, the Sugar Bears could not miss, leading to the fifth set. This happened especially as UCA expanded a late lead and outscored the Colonels 8-4 to finish the set 25-20.

The final set was back and forth all the way up until the score read 7-7. However, EKU went up on a massive run to claim the overall match and finish the heartbreaker with a 15-9 final.

Next, Sugar Bears come back home to face the last two opponents on the schedule with Jacksonville State on Friday and North Alabama on Sunday.

Tennis

The pairing of Fuka Nonoyama and Chunxi Xin took home the lone flight victory for the Bears as they claimed a 2-1 doubles record.

While UCA gave mixed results against stellar competition, it was Nonoyama/Xin that stole the show as they won the Blue Flight for the Bears. Nonoyama in the singles play section had a good invitational as well as she posted a 2-1 record.

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