Volleyball goes into tourney 18-0 in Southland

The Sugar Bears earned their third consecutive Southland Conference Championship title and finished their regular season play undefeated after playing three remaining conference games this week.

Sophomore defensive specialist and libero Corri Hunt said she wouldn’t trade this season for the world.

“Clenching the conference title on Tuesday was yet again an amazing feeling but proudly being able to say we have now clenched it with an undefeated season is beyond words,” she said.

The team played second-ranked Northwestern State University at 7 p.m. Nov. 12 in Natchitoches, La.

UCA then returned home to face the University of New Orleans at 8 p.m. Thursday in the Farris Center and played Southeastern Louisiana University at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Prince Center.

The team also honored its six seniors during Saturday’s game.

Senior setter Marissa Collins said it was a great way to end senior day.

“It was a very strong finish to a great season and we are thrilled about being 18-0,” she said.

With these wins, the Sugar Bears finish the regular season with an overall record of 26-3 and a Southland Conference record of 18-0.

The Southland Conference Tournament will be Nov. 22-24 at the Dugan Wellness Center in Corpus Christi, Texas where Texas A&M — Corpus Christi will serve as the host.

Collins said she is looking forward to the tournament.

“We have a couple days to practice and then move our focus ahead of us to the tournament and we are absolutely determined to win it and go on to bigger games,”she said.

Hunt said she is impressed with the team.

“I’ve never been so proud to be a part of such a hardworking and determined team,” she said.

During Tuesday’s game against Northwestern, UCA took the first set 25-19, lost the second set 32-34, won the third set 30-28 and won the fourth set 25-17, securing the match.

Sophomore outside hitter Heather Schnars led the offense with 19 kills and one block, also bringing in 15 digs.

Senior middle blocker Jessica Nagy brought in 18 kills and three blocks.

Junior outside hitter Scout Brooks had 14 kills, 12 digs and two blocks. Senior middle blocker Paige Gantar had 12 kills and eight blocks.

Collins had 59 assists, 22 digs, six blocks, three aces and one kill.

Junior defensive specialist and libero Shelbee Berringer led the defense with 28 digs.

Junior middle blocker Vanessa Coleman led the Northwestern offense with 14 kills and three blocks.

Junior outside hitter Stacey DiFrancesco and junior middle blocker Mackenzie Neely both had 10 kills.

Freshman setter Natalie Jaeger had 24 assists and junior setter and defensive specialist Emily Johnson had 21 assists.

Junior libero and setter Keelie Arneson had 30 digs and freshman outside hitter Ashley Elrod had 15 digs.

UCA won three straight sets against New Orleans on Thursday, winning 25-7, 25-14 and 25-23.

Schnars led the offense with 11 kills and two blocks.

Freshman outside hitter Evie Grace Singleton had eight kills and three blocks.

Gantar had seven kills.

Collins had 22 assists and sophomore setter Amy South had 12 assists.

Berringer had 21 digs.

Senior defensive specialist and right side Marti Richmiller had six kills and two blocks for New Orleans.

Junior outside hitter Kelsea Hundtoft had five kills and one ace.

Sophomore setter Celeste Ramirez had 15 assists and nine digs.

Sophomore left side Lauren Levy had seven digs.

The Sugar Bears won three straight sets again against Southeastern on Saturday, winning 25-21, 25-16 and 25-21.

Schnars had 15 kills, four digs, two aces and one block.

Nagy had nine kills.

Gantar had four kills and four blocks.

Collins had 36 assists.

Berringer had 11 digs and Rogers had five.

Freshman middle blocker Landry Bullock and sophomore middle blocker Veronica Turk each had eight kills for Southeastern Louisiana.

Sophomore setter Mikayla Shippy had 27 assists. Senior defensive speicialist and libero Megan McMillin and sophomore defensive specialist and libero Morgan Todd brought in 10 and eight digs, respectively.

The Sugar Bears play at 4 p.m. Friday against Stephen F. Austin in Corpus Christi, Texas.

The Sugar Bears need a win Friday to continue play at 1:30 p.m. Saturday.

The tournament continues through Sunday and the Southland Conference championship, which will air on ESPN3, will begin at 2 p.m.

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