NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Saturday, September 5, 2009) - The Redhawks volleyball team concluded the Belmont Invitational with a 3-0 (25-18, 25-20, 25-14) loss to Central Arkansas in the championship match on Saturday afternoon in the Curb Event Center. Central Arkansas claimed the invite title with a perfect 3-0 record against the tournament field while the Redhawks went 1-2.
The match was an offensive struggle for the Redhawks (3-3) who managed just 26 kills and recorded a .113 attack percentage. Conversely the Sugar Bears (3-3) had 52 of their 75 points come via the kill and finished with a .328 attack percentage.
In the match's opening set the Sugar Bears built a quick 15-9 lead. The Redhawks went on a 6-2 run to cut the lead to two points, 17-15. That would be the closest the Redhawks would get as the Sugar Bears ran off an 8-3 run to end the set. The Sugar Bears recorded a .444 attack percentage in the set.
The second set was more competitive as the Redhawks jumped ahead 3-1. That would prove to be the Redhawks only lead in the whole match as the Sugar Bears went on a 12-6 run to jump ahead 13-9. The Redhawks kept up with the Sugar Bears and made it close at 22-20. The Sugar Bears ended the set with a 3-0 run to grab a 2-0 advantage as both teams headed into the locker rooms.
The third and deciding set was all Sugar Bears. After the Redhawks tied the set at five-all, the Sugar Bears went on a 13-4 run to distance themselves and coasted to the 11-point set win and match victory. The 14 third set points was a season low for the Redhawks as they hit .019 with just five kills in the third set.
Emily Hughes and freshman Brittany Kalinoski led the Redhawks with six kills. For Kalinoski it was a new collegiate high in kills and points. Sarah Barth handed out 21 assists for the team lead. Defensively the Redhawks had three players who finished in double digits in digs led by Kelly Benacka with 12.
Senior Molly Davis finished with 11 digs to extend her double-digit dig streak to 26-straight matches. Davis was named to the Belmont Invitational All-Tournament Team.
Freshman Karlee Lursen chipped in ten digs for her fourth double-digit dig match of the season.
The Sugar Bears were led by Tournament Most Outstanding Player Chloe Smith who finished with a match-high 17 kills. Robyn Smith led all players with 34 assists and Cristin Curl led the defense with 17 digs.
The Redhawks conclude their "Tournament Tour" to start the 2009 season next weekend. The Redhawks head to Atlanta, Georgia to participate in the Georgia Tech Courtyard Classic. The team faces Ole Miss on Friday, September 11 at 3:30 CST to start the tournament before facing Georgia Tech and Clemson on Saturday, September 12.
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