Top-Seeded Sugar Bears Oust Ladyjacks
Nov. 17, 2012
CONWAY, Ark. - The Stephen F. Austin Ladyjacks stretched the top-seeded and host Central Arkansas Sugar Bears to the limit, but UCA managed to squeeze out a two-point win in the final set and avoid elimination with a 3-2 (24-26, 25-16, 18-25, 25-20, 16-14) win in the semifinals of the Southland Conference Tournament on Saturday at the Farris Center.
The win pushes the Sugar Bears (28-4) into the tournament's title game where they will take on SLC newcomer Oral Roberts for a berth in the NCAA Tournament after the Golden Eagles swept past regular season co-champion Sam Houston State earlier in the day.
SFA (22-12) outblocked the Sugar Bears 16-11 and held a 2-1 lead after three sets, carrying over momentum from its comeback win the night before over Northwestern State. But despite 16 kills from Ivy and 10 blocks from Sabrina Burns for the second consecutive match, but it wasn't enough as UCA was able to fight back from a deficit for the second time this season against the Ladyjacks to pick up a win.
Tori Bates had her second consecutive double-double with 10 kills and 15 digs along with four blocks, and Paige Holland had a double-double as well with 42 assists and 10 digs. SFA finished hit .148 for the match. Madison Hanlan finished with 19 digs in her final match as a Ladyjack, while OJ Olson had 17.
UCA hit just .177 itself and got a match-high 17 kills from Jessica Hays, who was one of four Sugar Bears with at least a dozen kills on the night. Marissa Collins added 60 assists and 17 digs herself.
The Ladyjacks held UCA to just .102 hitting in the first set before the Sugar Bears rallied to square things up with a nine-point win in the second frame. Bates then scored four of SFA's 14 kills in the third set as the Ladyjacks put themselves of the brink of advancement with a win in the third set; however, UCA was not done and managed to force a deciding fifth set by hitting .220 in the fourth set.
Neither team was ever up by more than two points in the final set, with SFA leading as late as 11-10 on an ace from Paige Holland. The Sugar Bears were not able to take their first lead of the set until the 14-13 point on an error from Katzy Randall. SFA managed to fight off one match-point try, but two points later cashed in to clinch the win.