SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - The Trojans were able to hold off four set-points to take the first, but the Bears won the next three as UALR (2-4) fell to Missouri State (2-4) 28-30, 25-18, 25-21, 25-19 Saturday (Sept. 1) at the University Plaza Invitational.
The Trojans were able to start strong and held the Bears to a .094 hitting percentage and 11 errors in set one, but Missouri State finished the match with three-straight sets hitting over .300 to hold a .288-.187 edge for the match. The Bears also had a 74-55 edge in total kills while UALR out-blocked the home team 11-10.5.
Individually, sophomore Edina Begic recorded her sixth double-double of the season with 25 kills (.312 hitting percentage) and 13 digs. Sophomore Marleen de Zoete got her second assists-dig double-double on the weekend with 46 assists and 11 digs. Seniors Eva Xie and Emily Pepperman had 10 kills and 17 digs, respectively, while sophomore Adisa Hodzic turned in a solid match with nine kills and five blocks.
For Missouri State, four players reached double-digits in kills, led by Olivia Brand with 16. Christine McCartney added 13 kills and digs while Carly Thomas got the double-dip with 59 assists and 24 digs. Thomas also added eight kills.
UALR jumped out to a 4-0 lead to open the match thanks to three attack errors by the Bears and an assisted block by Hodzic and de Zoete. The lead for the Trojans ballooned to 17-12 before Missouri State strung six points together to take the lead. After a Pepperman service error, two UALR attack errors around a McCartney ace brought the home team within one and forced a Trojans timeout. Two Amber Doolittle kills later gave Missouri State the slim lead in the set 18-17.
Missouri State looked to have the opening set sewn up with a 24-22 lead, but UALR countered with a 3-0 run of its own. After a Hodzic kill, an assisted block by Hodzic and Xie tied the match. UALR got its own set point after an attack error, but a service error tied the match at 25. The Bears had a set-point at 28-27, but UALR countered with kills by Xie and freshman Tyler Davis around a Missouri State attack error to go up one set.
Missouri State came out firing in the second set and led from the onset. The Bears used a .429-.279 hitting advantage, a .300 improvement from set one, to tie the match.
After the intermission, Missouri State came out strong and jumped on to an 18-9 lead. However, UALR would not go quietly and went on a 9-2 run to pull within two. Senior Daniele Souza Moura started the run with a kill and two Begic kills and a Bears attack error brought UALR within five. The home team got the sideout, but a de Zoete kill, Begic block and a Souza Moura ace cut it to 19-16. After another Bears sideout, de Zoete registered a kill and an block by Begic and Hodzic cut the deficit to two. However, up 21-19, Missouri State went on a 3-0 run and held on for the 25-21 win.
The final set stood 8-8 before a 4-0 run gave Missouri State the lead for good. On set point, the Bears got a scare with four-straight UALR points on senior Sawyer Schaedig's serve to pull within 24-19, but Brand stopped the momentum with a kill to end the match.
UALR returns to action next week when it travels to Carbondale, Ill. for the Saluki Invitational. First match is scheduled for 5 p.m. Friday (Sept. 7) against UT-Martin.