CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (UCA) - No. 1 Central Arkansas swept No. 8 Stephen F. Austin (25-20, 25-19, 25-17) in the third match of the Southland Conference Volleyball Tournament Friday night at the Dugan Wellness Center in Corpus Christi, Texas.
Central Arkansas extended its winning streak to 20 matches and claimed its 27th victory of the season while Stephen F. Austin finished the year 16-16.
Central Arkansas jumped out to a 10-6 lead before Stephen F. Austin's Head Coach Debbie Humphreys called a timeout. UCA extended its lead after a 4-0 run to push the score to 14-10. The Sugar Bears then scored five straight to pad their lead to eight before the Ladyjacks cut UCA's lead to three with a 5-0 run of their own. Marissa Collins, the 2013 Southland player and setter of the year, led the Sugar Bears' offense with 12 assists and eight digs to help the Central Arkansas win the set 25-20.
The Sugar Bears kept the pressure on SFA with 19 kills and a .333 hitting percentage in the second set. Collins had four digs and 14 assists lead the Sugar Bears offense. Shelbee Berringer collected seven digs while Jessica Nagy tallied four kills to win the set 25-19. The Ladyjacks were held to a .140 hitting percentage in the set and had trouble slowing down UCA's attack. Stephen F. Austin's O.J. Olson had four digs while Justice Walker led the offense with four kills.
In the third set, Central Arkansas started the match strong with a 4-1 lead before SFA tied the score at 8-8. The Ladyjacks kept fighting throughout the set but was unable to close the gap. The Sugar Bears opened its lead to seven which forced SFA to take a timeout. UCA finished on a 6-4 run to close out the set and win 25-17.
Central Arkansas was led by Collins who finished with 37 assists and 13 digs to propel the Sugar Bears to a 3-0 victory against Stephen F. Austin. UCA's Shelbee Berringer had a team-high 19 digs while Heather Schnars collected 12 kills and seven digs. Nagy finished with 10 kills. SFA's Olson led the defensive charge for the Ladyjacks with 16 digs while Paige Holland had a team-high 14 assists and four digs.
Central Arkansas will look to continue its winning streak in the semifinals tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. at the Dugan Wellness Center. The match will be streamed on the Southland Digital Network. The winner will earn a spot in the championship match on Sunday.