BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (11/19/09) – The Arkansas State Red Wolves (22-11, 12-6) dropped a five-set (25-23, 25-22, 16-25, 11-25, 15-17) heartbreaker to New Orleans (20-11, 12-6) in the first round of the Sun Belt Conference Tournament Thursday afternoon at Diddle Arena on the campus of Western Kentucky University.
"We started off playing pretty well and at a real high level," said ASU head coach Justin Ingram. "Hoag was doing great in the first couple of sets and Cayla as well. We needed to keep putting more emphasis on each ball, but the fifth game is short. We were fighting back, and we knew we had a chance. Unfortunately, it didn't work out in our favor. I'm very proud of the way the girls worked to have a chance to win."
The Red Wolves came out on fire as they took the first two sets.
Kills from freshmen Taylor Coughlin and Brittany Hoag lifted ASU out of a 23-23 tie to take the first set 25-23. Hoag added another kill in the second set to sway the match 23-22 in favor of the Red Wolves, and two Privateer attacking errors landed the set at 25-22.
UNO bounced back in sets three and four, rolling past A-State 25-16 and 25-11.
Arkansas State fought hard in the fifth, although it trailed most of the set. A kill from sophomore Charlyn Ursell kept the Red Wolves alive and tied the set at 15, but back-to-back kills from UNO's Lindsey Loyd secured the win for the Privateers at 17-15.
Hoag recorded her eighth double-double of the year with a team-high 16 kills and 14 digs. Ursell and sophomore Cayla Fielder each added 15 kills, and Fielder hit for a .406 percentage in the match.
Senior libero and SBC Defensive Player of the Year Heather Bowman led the Red Wolves with 22 digs, followed by senior Mandy DeWalt joining Hoag with 14. Fielder notched a team-high six blocks, while Hoag added five, including three unassisted.
Junior setter Laura Bennett tallied 51 assists to go along with a kills, nine digs and three blocks.