Sugar Bears Fall to USC in NCAA Tournament

first_imgThe fourth set saw the Sugar Bears and Trojans play to a 3-3 tie, before Southern California used a 15-4 run to close out the set, and the match. Central Arkansas hit .000 in the fourth set, collecting just nine kills on 32 swings. Nash collected five of those kills, and Samantha Anderson added two.For the match, Central Arkansas hit .226, led by Allen, who hit .550 with 12 kills and two blocks. Nash, UCA’s lone senior this season, made the most of her final match for the Sugar Bears, matching Allen to tie for the team-high in kills while hitting .348 and collecting three blocks. Beaton chipped in with nine kills and Tippett had eight and a team-high 13 digs as Elizabeth Armstrong handed out a match-high 41 assists. Amanda Dimon finished the match with 11 digs and Emily Doss had 10.”We couldn’t get Savanah the ball enough,” said Chatman. “I’m so proud of her. Since she’s come back from her injury, her mentality has just gone to the next level. She hasn’t looked back. I remember talking about her after the Southland Tournament and saying the same thing. She’s arrived from a mentality standpoint; there is still some fine-tuning with her skill set, but I love that she’s finally gotten to this point mentality-wise, because it’s really exciting.”The loss brings to a close a season that saw Central Arkansas reach the 20-win mark for the seventh time in the last ten seasons and the first in three years under Chatman’s direction. The Sugar Bears won their third Southland Conference Tournament Title, led the SLC in wins on the year, and saw junior Samantha Anderson named the league’s Player of the Year, the seventh time in 12 seasons as a Southland member that the honor has gone to a Sugar Bear.”I think this year started at the end of last year, when we won seven of our last eight matches, we played Texas A&M-Corpus Christi better than anyone else in the tournament last year, and we knew this spring was going to be important for our development,” said Chatman. “Kudos to the staff to get the team to buy into what it was we were trying to do from both of those angles and to the team for buying in. We had a great spring, some good competition, and we carried that through into the non-conference portion of our schedule and then just kept going. We never had to remind the team of what we we’re supposed to be doing, they just knew and were ready to do it. I’m just so proud of this group. They knew at the end of the season last year that this was going to be a special season, they knew what it was going to take, and they did it. I’m just really proud of them. There are a lot of teams tonight that lost in singles digits or lost in three sets, and we battled with the number ten team in the country. We looked really impressive at times. I think we played really well tonight, and I’m very proud of how we represented our conference and our university.” “I thought we played some really good volleyball,” said UCA head coach Jeni Jones Chatman. “We knew we needed to play our best, we didn’t need to be perfect, but we needed to play our best. I thought we came out very strong with that tonight. Our service pressure was on point, I thought we were passing the ball very well tonight, especially in set one, and Elizabeth did a great job of running our offense; we weren’t a one-hit wonder just setting one person, I thought she ran a really diverse offense. That kept their block in a bit of a scramble, created some holes, and created some opportunities for us to do some positive things offensively.”While the first set saw seven ties and just one lead change, the second set featured 12 ties and four lead changes as neither side was able to take a lead larger than four points. The teams would play to a 4-4 draw before Central Arkansas used a 7-3 run, highlighted by a pair of kills from Beaton, to open up an 11-7 lead and force a timeout from the Trojans. USC would come out of the stoppage with a run of its own, taking eight of the next 10 points to take a 15-13 lead and cause Chatman to take her first timeout of the set. Central Arkansas would also make adjustments out of their timeout, taking the next two points to tie things up at 15-15. USC would take retake the two-point lead, and the Sugar Bears would again even things up starting a dance that saw the Trojans take the lead and the Sugar Bears tie it six times over the remainder of the set, until USC again broke a tie, this time at 23-23, to take the set and even the match at 1-1. Central Arkansas continued its hot hitting in the set, turning in a .396 clip with 14 kills on 28 swings. Allen added four kills to her tally, while Megan Nash picked up three.The third set continued the trends from the first two sets, featuring nine ties and a pair of lead changes. The teams would trade points early one, playing to an 11-11 tie before the Trojans used a 7-1 run to open up an 18-12 lead and force a Central Arkansas timeout. UCA would take another timeout after the Trojans took two more points to push the lead to 20-12, and would prove able to make the adjustment this time, using kills from Tippett, Beaton, and Allen to cut the Trojan advantage to 21-18. That would be as close as the Sugar Bears could get however, as USC used a 4-0 streak to close out the set and take a 2-1 lead in the match. Central Arkansas hit just. .139 in the set, getting three kills from Nash, and two each from Allen, Tippett, and Beaton.Dropped 2nd set 23-25. Tied 1-1 and ballin’.— bradley widding (@bradleywidding) December 2, 2017 LOS ANGELES – The Central Arkansas Sugar Bears made their third appearance in the NCAA Tournament on Friday night, taking on the tenth-seeded Southern California Trojans USC’s Galen Center. The Sugar Bears, who were making their first NCAA appearance since back-to-back trips in 2012 and 2013, earned their first-ever NCAA set win, jumping out to a 1-0 lead in the match by taking the first set 25-22, before the Women of Troy rallied to take the next three sets 25-23, 25-18, 25-12.Central Arkansas (27-5) found itself in an early hole, as Southern California (23-9) built a 5-2 lead, but the Sugar Bears would take three straight points to even the set at 5-5. The Women of Troy would again open up a three-point lead on kills from Khalia Lanier and Brittany Abercrombie, but UCA would respond again, reeling off five consecutive points to grab a 14-12 advantage and force USC to take the first timeout of the match. The Sugar Bears and Trojans would continue the battle, trading points until the set was tied at 21-21, before Central Arkansas went on a 4-1 run to take the set 25-22 and earn a 1-0 lead in the match. Central Arkansas hit .378 as a team in the set, with Savanah Allen hitting .625 and tallying five kills, Haley Tippett matching her with five kills while hitting .444, and Amanda Beaton added four kills on a .500 attack percentage.Yup— bradley widding (@bradleywidding) December 2, 2017last_img

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