MAGNOLIA, Ark. (UAM) - Earlier this season, the Southern Arkansas volleyball team traveled to Arkadelphia to take on Ouachita Baptist in their Great American Conference opener and the Lady Muleriders suffered a tough 3-2 loss. On Tuesday night inside the W.T. Watson Center, the Lady Muleriders avenged that loss with an emotionally-charged 3-1 win.
The intensity of the home crowd could be felt throughout the entirety of the match, but the tone was definitely set during the opening set. In that set, the action was back-and-forth as the two teams played one another to 11 tie scores. The lead would also change hands on five occasions in the set. The final tie score and subsequent lead change came with the set knotted at 23-all. With the Lady Tigers (8-6, 2-4 GAC) serving, SAU's Courtney Geesing gave the Lady Muleriders (11-6, 4-2 GAC) the opportunity to serve for the set as she hammered home a kill from setter Gabby Clark. The Lady Muleriders would wrap up the set on the following point as OBU's Tara Wait committed a set error.
As energetic as the home crowd was in the first set, they were momentarily muted at the start of the second set as the Lady Tigers raced out to a quick 7-1 lead. That lead would eventually swell to 11-3 before the Lady Muleriders stormed back into the set. From that score, SAU would go on a 7-0 run to get to within a point, 11-10. Despite the tremendous comeback effort, the Lady Muleriders would be unable to take the lead away from the Lady Tigers as OBU evened the match with their 25-22 set two win.
Much like the first set, set three was an emotional rollercoaster with 12 tie scores and six lead changes. The final lead change came with the score knotted at 19-all when SAU's Amanda Monge hammered one of her match-high 17 kills. From there, the Lady Muleriders would earn the next four points to give them set-point. The Lady Tigers would stave off the set loss for one point, but Monge then ended the set with a kill.
Set four was another closely-contested set with 10 tie scores and three lead changes, but it was a set that was mostly controlled by SAU. After falling behind 2-0, SAU scored the next four points to take 4-2 lead. Several points later, the Lady Muleriders turned a two-point deficit into a three-point lead, 12-9, with a 5-0 run. From there, the Lady Muleriders would not trail in the set en route to their 25-23 set win; giving them the 3-1 match win.
Statistically, Monge led all attackers with 17 kills. Right behind her was Hailey McNee with 15 kills. Setter Gabby Clark paced the offense with 50 of the team's 51 assists. Libero Lauren Woods led the team in digs with 25, but four other Lady Muleriders recorded double-digit digs as well. Clark was next on the team with 18 digs, followed by Geesing with 14 and McNee and Allie Cecil with 11 each.