Sports

Volleyball home win-streak broken at 31 with 3-1 loss

The Sugar Bears volleyball team lost last Wednesday’s conference home opener game to the Northwestern State Lady Demons, 3-1, breaking the team’s 31 home match win-streak.
The Lady Demons won the first, second and fourth sets 25-22, 25-15, 25-22 and the Sugar Bears won the third set 25-17. The loss broke their home winning streak of three years, the second longest in the nation, behind the Cincinnati Bearcats at 42. The streak began after their last home loss to the University of Texas at San Antonio Lady Roadrunners in 2008.
The Sugar Bears stayed close in the first set but could not come back from an early deficit when the Lady Demons went up 9-5 early on.
UCA was outhit, .229 to .197 for the match.
Freshman outside hitter Stacey DiFrancesco led the Lady Demons with 21 kills and a .241 hitting percentage. She was assisted by freshman outside hitter Kelly Jimenez, who had 15 kills and 12 digs. Sugar Bears senior libero Cristin Curl had 19 digs and recorded three serve aces during the match.
The Lady Demons ended with 10 total blocks and 12 block assists while the Sugar Bears only had three solo blocks and eight block assists.
“We have some players who have a good blocking attitude, but not all do. We become too passive on the net,” coach David McFatrich said. “We need all of our net players to have an aggressive blocking mentality and right now we don’t.”
The Sugar Bears dropped the ball twice because of a miscommunication error on the first and second games.
“I thought they played great and I don’t want to take anything away from them, but we didn’t execute. We didn’t do it when we needed to do it,” McFatrich said. “I’m really disappointed.”
Northwestern State had eight block assists and took an early aggressive 2-0 set lead. They hit .200 in the second set while the Sugar Bears hit .000.
The Sugar Bears managed to improve in the third set, winning 25-17 with a .406 hit percentage.
“At half time we talked about a few things. Sometimes the ingredients you need to be a great team aren’t the physical ingredients,” McFatrich said. “We don’t have that ‘refuse-to-lose mentality’ that we’ve had years past. We have to change that.”
McFatrich said he hopes to the see the team he saw in the third game for Saturday’s match against UT Arlington.
“Our players have to learn that it takes three,” McFatrich said. “We have to sustain our concentration and focus level which will help our execution level.”
The team kept hitting the ball out-of-bounds, digged too close to the net and shanked a “lollipop serve” on the match point, McFatrich said.
Sophomore middle blocker Jessica Nagy scored the most kills, 12, and had six digs.
Junior Taylor Hammonds said, “We should have played better. It’s our home gym, we practice in it. We should have won.”
She said the Sugar Bears could improve on blocking and win in three sets. “We started out weak in every match,” Hammonds said.

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