LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (ucasports.com) – Central Arkansas got a huge win on the road in Little Rock Tuesday night. The Sugar Bears walked into a tough environment and came out with a big confidence boost headed back into ASUN play.
The Sugar Bears got off to a hot start in the first set, leading 3-0 right out the gate, but Little Rock quickly answered. UCA couldn't shake Little Rock and needed to call a time out with the score 11-10 in favor of the Trojans. After the timeout, momentum had shifted completely in favor of the Sugar Bears. They scored five unanswered out of the timeout and that set them up well for the rest of the set. Little Rock was able to tie it up at 19, but after an error by the Trojans, an Alexis McDaniel ace gave the Sugar Bears a two-point advantage, and from there the Sugar Bears never looked back.
The second set was filled with chances to take a commanding lead, but the Sugar Bears allowed the Trojans to hang in the game, and the crowd got invested. The second set was close all the way through, leading up to an Alexis Stumbough ace that made it 23-22 Sugar Bears. That forced a time out from Little Rock, and after the Trojans scored three unanswered to even things up.
In the third set, the Sugar Bears fed off of the crowd's energy to take a 2-1 advantage. A good bit of Little Rock's chances in this set came off of errors by UCA that allowed Little Rock to hang in the ballgame. Alexis Stumbough had two big kills down the stretch, and then it was UCA that took advantage of an unforced error as Little Rock served one into the net to help the Sugar Bears seal it, 25-19.
The fourth set saw the Sugar Bears quickly fall in a 6-2 hole, forcing coach John Newberry to take an early time out. UCA scored three unanswered out of the break to get themselves right back in it. UCA wouldn't tie it up until it was 11-11, and then eventually 13-13. Once the Sugar Bears did get ahold off the lead at 14-13, they wouldn't let it go. Little Rock made it a little hairy towards the end, getting within one at 24-23, but Alexis Stumbough once again came up big for the Sugar Bears, as she called game with her 19th kill of the night.
Stumbough's 19 kills tied her high on the year, while Mackenzie Vernon provided 16 kills and led the Sugar Bears for most of the contest. Jamiryana Hall also came through for the Sugar Bears, tallying 14 kills. Caylan Koons breezed past her career high in assists, as she totaled 51 on the night.
The Sugar Bears will head back home this Friday, September 30th to resume ASUN play against Eastern Kentucky at 6:00 p.m. The game will be streamed on ESPN+, and you can follow the Sugar Bears all season long on Twitter at @ucavball.
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The ASUN, a Division I conference member of the NCAA, boasts a membership of institutions that share visionary leadership, bold ambition and creative innovation. As a nimble adaptive conference, unafraid to blaze a national pathway for better service to our student-athletes, teams, and institutions, the ASUN has a proud history of firsts, national academic and athletic achievements and a conference culture that walks the walk with its four ASUN Beams. Students First! Rise. Connect. Impact. #ASUNBuilt by Austin Peay (Clarksville, Tenn.), Bellarmine (Louisville, Ky.), Central Arkansas (Conway, Ark.), Eastern Kentucky (Richmond, Ky.), FGCU (Fort Myers, Fla.), Jacksonville (Fla.), Jacksonville State (Jacksonville, Ala.), Kennesaw State (Ga.), Liberty (Lynchburg, Va.), Lipscomb (Nashville, Tenn.), North Alabama (Florence, Ala.), North Florida (Jacksonville, Fla.), Queens (Charlotte, N.C.) and Stetson (DeLand, Fla.).