Repeat – UCA Sugar Bears Volleyball Team Wins Title


UCA Sugar Bears Volleyball

Corpus Christi, Texas – The UCA Sugar Bears volleyball team and the Northwestern State Lady Demons squared off in the championship match of the Southland Conference Tournament on Sunday afternoon in Corpus Christi, Texas. For the first time this season, the Sugar Bears dropped two sets against an SLC foe, falling behind 2-0 before storming back to take the next three sets to win the Southland Conference Tournament for the second year in a row.

Northwestern State (21-12, 15-3 SLC) took the first set 25-19 and the second 25-20 to send the Sugar Bears into the break trailing 2-0 for the first time since they faced no. 2 Penn State. Central Arkansas regrouped and dominated the next two sets, winning the third 25-13 and the fourth 25-14 to send the match to a fifth set. The Lady Demons led 8-7 when the teams changed ends, but UCA won eight of the match’s final 13 points to win the championship.

Central Arkansas outhit Northwestern State .192 to .101 on the night, topping the Lady Demons .524 to .000 in the third set, .211 to .026 in the fourth set, and .290 to .222 in the final set. Heather Schnars once again led the Central Arkansas offense, tallying a match-high 16 kills to go with 12 digs and six aces. Evie Grace Singleton had a career-high 10 kills and six blocks, while Paige Gantar had eight kills and nine blocks, while Jessica Nagy had nine kills and two blocks. Marissa Collins got another double-double for the Sugar Bears, dishing out 47 assists and digging 19 balls, and Shelbee Berringer had a team-high 25 digs. Central Arkansas also got double-digit digs from Scout Brooks, who had ten.

Ashley Elrod and Stacey DiFrancesco led the NWLA offense with 12 and ten kills, respectively, while Emily Johnson (21) and Natalie Jaeger (20) combined for 41 assists. Keelie Arneson had a match-high 34 digs for the Lady Demons, who also got double-digit digs from DiFrancesco (17) and Elrod (11). Glynna Johnson had eight blocks.

Following the match, Schnars, Nagy, and Collins were named to the All-SLC Tournament team, with Collins being named MVP of the tournament.

The win secured the SLC’s automatic bid to this season’s NCAA Tournament for the UCA Sugar Bears volleyball team. The NCAA Selection Show is scheduled for 8:30 pm on Sunday, Dec. 1.

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