UCA volleyball finishes season with win

The University of Central Arkansas volleyball squad put the final stamp on the fall season after two commanding victories against ULM.

The Sugar Bears continued their successful endeavors against the Warhawks, as their explosive offensive came to life after the first set finished. UCA hit on all facets of the game as junior Madi Bowles offered up a career day for the Sugar Bears. Bowles hit a career-high in kills (15) and tied her career-high in blocks (5). She was not the only one that had a career day as junior Ravin Rhodes tied her career-high in blocks (6). Senior Bailey Waddington did not break any career highs but made a significant impact with 49 assists. 

Set 1:
The keyword during the entirety of set one was momentum. During the set, both squads provided heavy runs that disrupted their opponents’ flow for a significant amount of time. ULM started it from the get-go as they pushed their way to an 11-4 lead halfway through the match. The Sugar Bears fought back valiantly and eventually knotted the match up at 13 all. However, the Warhawks kept getting the edge and forcing UCA to rally up until the score was 23 all. Eventually, the Warhawks would score two more times as they claimed the first set 25-23. 

Set 2:
Unhappy with set one’s results, the Sugar Bears came out with a fire under them as they pushed their lead to 13-3. They continued to extend the margin, while ULM had to answer for their quick points. UCA’s .333 hitting percentage ensured that they would remain on top as they claimed the second set in dominant fashion with a 25-10 victory. 

Set 3:
The third set played a little closer, but the Sugar Bears still seemed to be firing on all cylinders from the offensive side. Bowles started the set with one of her best performances on her career day as she provided kills on three of UCA’s first five points. Bowles wasn’t the only one getting in on the action as junior Lexi Miller grabbed a significant amount of kills in the set as well. At the end of the set, Bowles came up with five kills, while Miller tallied six. With help from these two, the Sugar Bears won the set 25-18. 

Set 4:
While the offense was successful in the first three sets, this set easily stands out above the rest. UCA made quick work of the Warhawks as they only allowed 10 points throughout the entire set. While one side struggled to get anything going, the other side never faltered. The Sugar Bears finished out the set with a .500 hitting percentage and finished out the fall season with a season-best .356 hitting percentage for the match. 

Up Next:
UCA finished up the fall season, but they are not done yet as they start up the spring season on Feb. 4 against Houston Baptist in Southland Conference play. 

Quote from head coach John Newberry:
“Really proud with the way we finished up the game today. We didn’t start off really great with our serve receive, but when we steadied out and stayed in our rhythm, we knew we were going to be able to continue that path for the rest of the game.”

“I’m extremely proud with Madi Bowles, who absolutely demolished them, and Bailey Waddington, who did a great job distributing the ball to everyone.  Our game IQ went way up through the entire match, and I am really excited to be able to finish up the fall season with that kind of win.”