UALR (10-12, 6-4 Sun Belt) starts a critical four-game stretch in
Sun Belt West play when it travels to rival Arkansas State (16-10, 6-4 SBC)
Sunday (Oct. 28) at 2 p.m. The winner retains a one-match lead in SBC West play
with three conference matches to play. Live stats will be available by going to
the UALR schedule page.
The Trojans trail the Red Wolves 46-15 in the all-time series, but
UALR did claim a win in one of the biggest matches between the two squads in
Jonesboro, Ark. In the 1996 Sun Belt Conference Tournament Final, the Trojans
avenged a straight-set defeat earlier in the season at the hands of ASU with a
15-9, 12-15, 15-10, 16-14 victory on Arkansas State's home court. The win
awarded the Trojans its first NCAA tournament appearance, a feat they would
repeat three times in the next four years.
The contest is the only one on the week for
the Trojans as they host Louisiana-Lafayette for senior night next Sunday (Oct.
4) before finishing up on the road at ULM (Oct. 9) and at North Texas (Oct.
Scouting Arkansas State
The two teams that were the toast of Sun Belt Conference
volleyball in the 90's (ASU and UALR combined for eight of the 10 SBC
Tournament Championships that decade) square off in what may be the most
important meeting in years. The winner leads the Sun Belt West and will at
minimum have a magic number of one in order to clinch a spot in the 2012 SBC
Both teams enter Sundays match neck and neck in terms of
stats. UALR holds the slight edge in
hitting percentage (.227-.208), blocks (2.06 per set to 1.92) and digs (15.51
per set to 15.01). However, Arkansas State holds minor edges in assists per set
(12.97-12.73), kills per set (13.89-13.35) and opponent hitting percentage
(.208-.235). In the first meeting (Oct. 16) with virtually all stats equal, the
Red Wolves gained an advantage in kills (48-34), off the dig (58-48) and in
attack percentage (.298-.128).
Individually, UALR must neutralize a potent front line of the Red
Wolves where four different players average more than two kills a set. Senior
outside hitter Jasmine Terry leads the team and is sixth in the Sun Belt with
3.56 kills per set. Terry will get her swings but easily leads the team in
attack errors (180) and does not have a high attack percentage (.166). She only
had eight kills in the first meeting. The challenge with be to hold off a pair
of seniors in middle Kelsie Hodges and setter Allison Kearney. Kearney leads
the with a .343 hitting percentage and had six kills and only one error on 12
swings (.417) earlier this month against the Trojans. Hodges, who is third in
the conference with a .336 average, was even more potent with 12 kills and only
one error on 20 swings (.450) against UALR.
Kearney leads the team and is second in the conference with 11.02
assists per set. Junior libero Megan Baska is fifth in the conference with 4.34
digs per set.
against Arkansas State
LITTLE ROCK - UALR could
not overcome a big deficit in set one and big Red Wolves' service rallies in
sets two and three gave Arkansas State the 25-22, 25-19, 25-17 win over the
Trojans Tuesday Night (Oct. 16) at the Jack Stephens Center.
For the match, UALR was outhit .298-.128 and
outdug 58-48. The Trojans did win the battle of the block 7-6.
UALR sophomore Edina Begic registered
another double-double with 13 kills and 11 digs while senior Daniele Souza Moura added a team-high 12 digs. Sophomore Adisa Hodzic contributed
nine kills and six blocks.
Arkansas State's Allison Kearney added her
own double-double with 40 assists and 10 digs while Kelsie Hodges registered 12
kills. Megan Baska added a match-high 17 digs.
UALR trailed 15-9 in the first set before
going on a 7-2 spurt to pull within one.
Begic registered a pair of kills to start the run before ASU answered
back to stop Souza Moura's serve. A Hodzic kill and an Arkansas State error cut
the deficit by one more before another side out made it 17-13. An error put
Begic on serve and an ace and another Red Wolves' error cut the deficit to one.
The visitors called timeout before Begic erred on her serve coupled with three
more ASU points made it 21-16.
The Trojans put together one last rally for
the set, but a costly error stopped the momentum. Down 22-17, Souza Moura got a
kill and a solo block brought the home team within three. UALR looked as if it
won the next point but after a lengthy discussion the Trojans were called for
being out of rotation. ASU went on to win the set by three.
Set two stood tied at three before Arkansas
State tallied a point on its next four serves before UALR forced a side out.
The Red Wolves capped the 8-3 run with an ace. The Trojans cut it to 14-11, but
ASU answered with a 4-0 run to take control. ASU captured the set by six.
UALR took a 12-9 lead in the third, but the
Red Wolves went on a 12-0 run on Shelby Crncic's serve and went on to record
the straight-set sweep.
A trio of Trojans have their eyes on the
career record book, including a pair of sophomores.
Having broken the record her junior season,
senior Emily Pepperman has 1,566 digs for her career and moved into the
top five in the Sun Belt record book (rally scoring). With 330 digs this year,
she is 28 digs away from reaching the top-10 in single-season digs all four
years at UALR.
Sophomore Edina Begic has 891 kills
for her career and 459 this season. Through nine less matches than in 2011, she
has surpassed last year's total of 432. She is 105 less than the single-season
record and if she averages more than 26 kills over the final four matches, she
will eclipse the mark of 564 kills by Ivana Vracar in 2003 (30 matches).
Sophomore Marleen de Zoete is eighth
with 1,812 career assists and only need 39 more this season to reach the top 10
in the single-season annals.
Despite being only two hours from her
hometown of Jonesboro, sophomore Allison Wyatt only gets to go home once
during that season. Unfortunately for her, it is only for a few hours and it is
to play volleyball when rivals UALR and Arkansas State meet up for their annual
contest at the Convocation Center.
You can read more about Wyatt by going to the
UALR Forum by clicking here.
When you have coached at an institution for
25 years, there is no shortage of good players that come through a program and
later become head coaches. However, head coach Van Compton may be able
to lay claim to one of the best former player/assistant in the country in Danijela
After playing for the Trojans for the 1995
and '96 seasons (earning Second Team All-SBC honors both years), she was an
assistant coach for UALR from 1997-2002. After a short stint as an assistant at
LSU, she took over the reins at FIU and took the Golden Panthers from SBC
cellar dweller to one of the best teams in the conference.
During her seven year stint with FIU, Tomic's
squads claimed two regular season SBC Championships and NCAA appearances in
2008 and 2009. Tomic herself claimed SBC Coach of the Year honors in 2006, 2008
Having moved on to Bowling Green after the
2011 season, she is making waves in her first season in the Mid-American
Conference. With a 14-8 overall record and 9-1 MAC mark, the Falcons and Ohio
are tied atop the conference standings. As luck would have it, Ohio hosts
Bowling Green Saturday.
With four of 10 SBC matches going five sets,
nine of UALR's 22 matches this year have gone the distance. With still a
minimum of four matches left, UALR has already played the most five-set matches
since the 2003 season.
After beating Austin Peay in five in the
second match of the season, UALR lost the next four. That all changed in SBC
play when it beat FIU, Florida Atlantic and North Texas in five sets in three
of the first four SBC matches to even its record. With its thrilling 3-2 win
over Middle Tennessee Friday (Oct. 19), UALR moves back above .500 in said
matches since the first day of the season.
The Trojan record for five-set matches in a
season is 10 in 2003 (9-1). UALR played nine in 1999. Arkansas State has only
gone the distance once and beat Southeast Missouri State on Oct. 2.
UALR service runs have come at critical times
to help win sets. In fact, the Trojans have won five or more points on their
serve nine different times in Sun Belt play. Not only have UALR won all those
matches, it would go on to win every one of those sets. In every SBC win except
North Texas, a Trojan has had a service rally of at least five points in some
The largest service run came from sophomore Marleen de Zoete in the fifth set against FIU (Sept. 21). Tied 2-2, de Zoete
delivered nine straight points. The last five all came off the attack of
classmate Edina Begic. She followed that up two days later against
Florida Atlantic to help UALR stage a comeback and win the crucial third set.
She helped turn a 12-8 deficit into a 13-12 lead for UALR. de Zoete also
accomplished a six-point rally in the sixth set against South Alabama.
Tied with de Zoete is senior Emily Pepperman with three such rallies. She did it twice against FIU, helping
UALR out to 7-0 and 6-0 leads, respectively, in the first and third sets. She
also did it in the fourth against South Alabama (Oct. 5).
Sophomore Allison Wyatt waited until the ninth SBC
match to accomplish this feat twice but was it ever big. With the second set tied
at 16 against Middle Tennessee and UALR down by a frame, Wyatt helped deliver
six points on her serve. She followed that up with five points in the fourth.
While not five points, she came up big against North Texas (Sept. 29) with
four-straight points to help UALR turn a 7-6 deficit into a 10-7 lead in the
Begic has one five-point service rally in the third set
against ULM. She helped slam the door against the Warhawks by turning a 16-10
lead into a dominating 21-10 advantage.
UALR finishes out the home schedule with a
critical SBC West showdown against Louisiana-Lafayette next Sunday (Nov. 4) at
2 p.m. at the Jack Stephens Center. Following the match, the Trojans like to
commemorate the accomplishments of a great senior class that consists of Emily Pepperman, Sawyer Schaedig, Daniele Souza Moura and Eva Xie.