MEMPHIS, Tenn. - The Trojans volleyball team must have been in a hurry to return to Little Rock and UALR wasted no time in showing the home crowd at Elma Roane field house that fact.
UALR (2-1) used straight sets to down Memphis (0-3) with a 25-21, 25-21, 25-22 win its finale match of the Memphis Invitational.
"Today's match was a grinder but what was important was that we made the plays when we needed them," head coach Van Compton explained. "Our kids wanted it and when we got up two sets, we knew we had to press and put Memphis away.
"Our serve-receive game was solid all weekend," Compton added.
The Trojans set the tempo early, hitting .400 or better the first two sets to bury the Tigers. Memphis tried to keep pace with a .310 mark in the first set, but dipped below .200 in the second. UALR outhit the Tigers .347-.235 for the match.
With digs and kills relatively even between teams, UALR was able to out-muscle the Tigers at the net with seven blocks to the hosts three.
Individually, sophomore Edina Begic finished the weekend in style with a blazing .429 hitting percentage (13 kills and only one error on 28 attempts). She completed the weekend with 12 digs for her 14th career double-double and third consecutive to open the season.
But help for Begic was certainly plentiful. Classmate Marleen de Zoete turned in what may have been the best performance for the Trojans, keeping Memphis on its toes with 30 assists and eight kills and only one error on 11 attempts (.636). Senior Eva Xie came off the bench for eight kills and only one error on 20 attempts.
Sophomore Adisa Hodzic continued her coming out party on the weekend with six kills and six blacks.
Marija Jovanovic led Memphis with a match-high 15 kills while Altrese Hawkins contributed 12. Veronica Zimmerman had the uncommon double dip with 33 assists and 11 digs.
UALR stuck it to Memphis early and often in set one, turning an 8-5 lead into a 16-8 advantage. During the run, de Zoete tallied three kills in four points, Hodzic and senior Daniele Souza Moura added kills of their own and two assisted blocks pushed UALR's lead to eight.
Memphis did not go quietly in the frame and pulled within 17-16 on service rallies from Alexsandsra Petronijevic and Jovanovic, but a Xie kill and an error by the Tigers put UALR up three and they never led by less than two in the four-point win. Xie led the Trojans with four kills and no errors on eight attempts while de Soete had three kills and no errors.
Set two saw furious rallies by both teams, but the Trojans got the last laugh. Thanks to Begic's three kills and a pair apiece from Souza Moura and Hodzic, UALR jumped out to a 12-8 lead. Memphis immediately turned in a 10-4 run of its own, but UALR tallied four straight points. After a Souza Moura kill and sophomore Allison Wyatt ace tied the match, Memphis committed a pair of errors and the Trojans took the set lead for good.
Memphis pulled within 22-21, but Begic slammed home three-straight kills to put UALR up 2-0. Begic exploded in the set for seven kills on 12 attempts while Souza Moura connected on four of five attacks while Hodzic scored on two of three attempts.
The Tigers led by as much as four and clung to a 19-17 lead before Hodzic got in the act for the Trojans. After a de Zoete kill put UALR on serve, Hodzic contributed a pair of assisted blocks and finished it ogg with a kill to give UALR breathing room. Memphis tied it at 22, but a Xie kill and a pair of Tiger errors ended the match.
While the the third was the worst hitting set, UALR more than doubled its block total in the match with four to hold off Memphis 25-22.
"We got the win last night so we knew what it felt like to win," Compton said. "Our girls wanted to keep that feeling going. They played with so much passion against Memphis."
The volleyball team returns to action next weekend when it makes another trip north to Springfield, Mo. for the Missouri State Adidas Invitational. UALR kicks off play Friday (Aug. 31) at noon.