August 30, 2019
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Central Arkansas Sugar Bears narrowly escaped day one of the Georgetown Classic as they defeated the Rider Broncs and Central Connecticut State Blue Devils in five-set thrillers. The Sugar Bears overcame early adversity in both matches, erasing 1-0 deficits in route to the wins.
UCA 3, BRONCS 2
Sophomores Lexi Miller and Madi Bowles led the Sugar Bears attack against the Broncs, finishing with 15 and 11 kills. In her first career collegiate match, 5’11 freshman Alexis Stumbough provided an instant boost off the bench with 9 kills on a .400 hitting percentage. The well-proven setter duo of junior Bailey Waddington and senior Elizabeth Armstrong combined for 45 assists while senior Rayna Jefferis and junior libero Emily Doss combined for 26 digs.
SET 1 – The Sugar Bears gained their biggest lead of the set at 11-8 after a service ace and kill from senior Abbie Harry sparked a 5-0 run. The Broncs responded by taking full control of the set as they reached 25 on a 17-7 run.
SET 2 – The second set was essentially a flip of the first as Central Arkansas took control following a competitive start. After a Broncs kill made it 6-6, the Sugar Bears scored five straight and never looked back. Miller recorded two of her set-high six kills in the spurt and the team finished with a set-high 16 kills in route to a 25-16 win.
SET 3 – The third set started in a battle as four ties occurred within the first eight points. The next 16 points would be a trio of runs as Rider and Central Arkansas continued to claw at each other. After a quick 4-0 Sugar Bear run cut the deficit to 11-9, the Broncs responded with five of the next six points to make it 16-10 and eventually cruised to a 25-20 win.
SET 4 – With their backs against the wall, the Sugar Bears came out focused and secured an early 7-1 lead off back-to-back Stumbough service aces. The Broncs would pull within five off a kill and Sugar Bear error to make it 15-10, but Central Arkansas eventually closed them off with six straight points to win 25-15. Stumbough recorded two kills in the last four points to continue her strong morning.
SET 5 – The Broncs started the last set with an early 2-0 lead before the Sugar Bears took the next six points to create the breathing room needed to take the match. After a Central Arkansas service error pulled Rider within two, a pair of kills from Miller and junior Amari Mitchell solidified the win. The Sugar Bears recorded an impressive 10 kills in the last set.
UCA 3, BLUE DEVILS 2
The Sugar Bears attack was on full display against the Blue Devils as they recorded 68 kills. Stumbough continued her impressive day with a team-high 15 kills and 14 digs. Redshirt-junior Ravin Rhodes, Bowles and Harry also contributed with 10+ kills apiece. Waddington and Armstrong made passing look easy as they combined for 65 assists on the night while Doss led the team in digs with 23.
SET 1 – The first set saw four ties within the first 14 points as both sides started strong. After a Bowles kill gave the Sugar Bears a 13-11 lead, the Blue Devils scored the next four and never trailed again. An Armstrong kill pulled Central Arkansas within three at 23-20, but Central Connecticut scored two of the next three to win 25-21.
SET 2 — The Sugar Bears capitalized on two straight Blue Devil attack errors and took an early 3-0 lead. The set was decided when the Sugar Bears turned their narrow 9-7 lead into a comfortable 17-9 advantage. Errors haunted the Blue Devils again as they converted five of them during the spurt. Bowles and Stumbough led the Central Arkansas attack in the set with four kills apiece.
SET 3 – The third set was about Central Arkansas runs and kills as they recorded two separate five-point streaks and a set-high 17 kills. After a Blue Devil kill brought them within two at 12-10, the Sugar Bears responded with five unanswered points and three kills to position them nicely at 17-10. The Blue Devils would later respond with a 4-0 spurt to pull within one at 21-20, but a pair of kills from Stumbough would help push Central Arkansas to a 25-22 win.
SET 4 – The Blue Devils saw their best performance at the net in the fourth set as they recorded a set-high 17 kills to help stay alive. Trailing 24-20, the Sugar Bears attempted to rally as they strung together back-to-back kills from Harry and Mitchell. The rally fell short soon after though as a service error gave the Blue Devils point 25.
SET 5 – Like the fifth set against the Riders, the Sugar Bears took early control of the set with a commanding 7-0 lead. The Blue Devils kept their heads high and scrapped together three straight to make it 10-6, but they would not get closer than four as a Stumbough kill slammed the door shut on the Blue Devils. For the second straight match, Central Arkansas recorded 10 kills in the fifth set and was led by Stumbough and Bowles.
ASSOCIATE HEAD COACH JOHN NEWBERRY ON DAY ONE
“The first day of the tournament went just as we expected it to. Both teams were big and physical but played completely different styles of volleyball. The sets that we lost were based solely on our lack of execution with passing and a few mental errors. The sets that we won were fun and the team was able to get on several point runs.
We had some major bright spots with all of our positions at some point of the game. Several of our players had double digit kills which helped us have a well-balanced offense that is difficult to read.
We are excited for the next day. Competition is going to be a very strong challenge for us.”
The Sugar Bears will wrap up tournament play tomorrow with a doubleheader against the Sacred Heart Pioneers and host Georgetown Hoyas. The first match against the Pioneers is set to begin at noon.