The University of Central Arkansas got 22 kills from senior Jessica Hays to knock off Big 12 Texas Tech, 3-1, before a packed house at the Prince Center on Tuesday night.
UCA (17-1) outhit Tech in three of the four sets, winning 25-14, 25-23, 25-27 and 25-18. The Sugar Bears hit .306 for the match and held the Red Raiders (11-8) to just .132. The win avenged a straight-set loss at Tech last year in the Texas Tech Invitational in Lubbock.
“Great crowd tonight at the Prince and a great win for our program," said UCA head coach David McFatrich. “There were times when they didn’t play their best and their were times we didn’t play our best. But it was great to get a Big 12 team in here. They got the better of us last year and we were able to get the better of them this year."
UCA got 54 assists from junior setter Marissa Collins and double-figure kills from the trio of Scout Brooks (13), Alicia Dittrich (10) and Jessica Nagy (10). UCA also recorded 12 blocks to Tech’s 10. Hays added a team-high 5 service aces and 8 digs. Brooks had a team-high 11 digs.
“I think the difference was, when we were going really, really well, we controlled the ball,’ said McFatrich. “And they are definitely bigger than us and probably a little more powerful, but we saw some things before the match and we thought we might actually get some blocks.
“I am a little surprised we had more than they did. That might be one of the first times in my six years here that we outblocked an opponent. Especially that big of a team."
Texas Tech entered the match with a 53-24 all-time record against Southland teams, and 4-0 under Coach Dan Flora. Tech has not traveled to a Southland school in a non-tournament contest since beating Sam Houston State back in 1992.
UCA returns to Southland Conference play at home on Thursday night, hosting McNeese State at 7.