HOUSTON, Texas – UALR (1-3) fell to LSU (4-0) in straight sets 25-18, 25-12, 25-23 Friday night (Sept. 6) in the opening match of the Rice Invitational.
Junior Edina Begic ran her double-double streak to nine matches (dating back to last season) with 16 kills and 11 digs. Coupled with only two errors on 42 swings, Begic hit .333 for the match. Junior Marleen de Zoete had 32 assists.
LSU recorded 54 kills to UALR’s 35 and out dug the Trojans 48-38. The Tigers also won the battle of the net, 5-4. UALR hit .245 for the match, compared to LSU’s .385.
The Tigers were paced by Cati Leak’s 13 kills and 13 digs. Briana Holman and Madi Mahaffey each contributed 10 kills while Malorie Pardo had a match-best 43 assists.
UALR trailed 10-6 in the first set before back-to-back kills by sophomore Sonja Milanovic and Begic cut the deficit in half. Both teams sided out the next two points until an assisted block by Begic and junior Adisa Hodzic cut the deficit to 12-11.
At 15-13 LSU, the Tigers scored six straight to take control of the set. Pardo put LSU on serve with a kill and an attack error gave the Tigers a four-point edge. Two kills from Pardo, a kill by Emily Ehrle and a UALR error pushed the lead to 21-13. The Trojans cut the deficit to five but could not climb any closer as LSU took the set 25-18.
The Trojans could not overcome the LSU attack early in the second set and lost the frame 25-12. Tied at three, LSU went on a 5-1 run to double-up the Trojans. Leak recorded three kills for LSU followed by a pair from Holman. Begic stopped the run with a kill, but Holman and Leak kills gave the Tigers a lead that never was less than four the rest of the set.
LSU began the frame with seven kills on as many swings and was successful on 20 of 26 swings with only one error for a .731 hitting percentage in the second.
UALR took LSU to the brink in the third set thanks in part to Begic’s eight kills. With UALR down 18-14, Begic tallied a pair of kills before a junior Capri Rino service error. Begic followed with another pair of kills to bring the Trojans within one. Both teams traded kills before a Begic ace tied the match at 20. LSU nudged out to a 23-21 edge, but UALR tied the set thanks to a redshirt freshman Carolee Dillard-freshman Rachel Williams assisted block followed by a Dillard-de Zoete rejection. LSU called timeout and closed out the set with a kill and a UALR error.
The Trojans return to action Saturday (Sept. 7) with a pair of matches. UALR takes on Rice at noon followed by Texas A&M Corpus Christi at 5 p.m.