LITTLE ROCK - UALR (9-9, 5-1 Sun Belt) rallied in the second set to tie the match, but Troy (13-8, 4-2 Sun Belt) came out strong after intermission and never looked back in a 25-20, 16-25, 25-18, 25-14 win Saturday afternoon (Oct. 6) at the Jack Stephens Center.
Senior Eva Xie paced UALR with 17 kills and only three errors on 31 swings for a match-high .417 hitting percentage. Sophomore Allison Wyatt added a career-high 18 digs wile senior Emily Pepperman added 14. Senior Daniele Souza Moura contributed 13 digs.
Sophomore Marleen de Zoete added a match-high 49 assists with classmate Edina Begic adding 25 kills.
Troy was able to outhit UALR .297-.239, including a .514 mark in the fourth set with 19 kills and no errors on 37 swings. Blair Winston (17), Breanna Cullity (14) and Devin Pon Vingel (13) all reached double-digit in kills with Alexandra Alexander adding 46 assists. Mailande Parker just missed a double-double with 10 digs and seven kills and no errors on 22 attempts (.318).
Troy came out firing in the first set with a 7-3 lead before UALR fought back and went up 10-8. Hodzic and Souza Moura recorded kills before Troy registered a sideout. Xie put Wyatt on serve with a kill and two Begic kills and two errors on Troy put UALR up two. Troy answered on a Winston kill and four-straight UALR attack errors to take a 13-10 advantage. Troy kept UALR at bay and eight-straight sideouts to end the first set gave the visitors the five-point win and 1-0 lead.
In the second set, UALR gave Troy a taste of its own medicine with a 17-4 run. Tied at three, Hodzic's second solo block of the year put Begic on serve. A pair of kills by Xie and a Troy error gave UALR the 7-3 lead. After a pair of sideouts, it was Pepperman's turn for a pair of points thanks to a Xie kill and a Troy error. Wyatt's service rally added three more points followed by a trio more on Souza Moura's serve pushed UALR's advantage to 20-7. Troy scored nine of the last 14 points, but it was not enough as UALR tied the match at one.
The third and fourth sets saw big early runs by Troy that UALR never recovered from. Down 1-0 in the third, Troy took advantage of two UALR attack errors and a Kayla Pickart kill to go up 3-1. Begic stopped the bleeding with a kill, but Troy answered right back with kills and a pair of UALR attack errors to go up 7-2. Pepperman's serve cut it the deficit to one with a trio of kills and Troy attack error, but Troy answered with three straight and UALR never cut the deficit to less than three.
Troy started the fourth on a 7-1 run and never looked back to win the match in four sets.
After three-straight weekends with a pair of matches to begin conference play, UALR gets a full week off before starting a stretch of four matches in eight days. The Trojans travel to Louisiana-Lafayette next Saturday (Oct. 13) to take on the Rajun' Cajuns. First serve is set for 7 p.m.