MONTICELLO, Ark. (UAM) - The University of Arkansas at Monticello volleyball team opened the 2013 season on Friday by splitting a pair of matches at the University of West Florida Opening Weekend Tournament. The Blossoms opened the season with a 3-2 win over Albany State followed later in the day with a 3-1 loss to Missouri S&T.
In the first match of the 2013 season, the Blossoms went back and forth with Albany State, winning in five sets with final game scores of 25-17, 22-25, 25-18, 18-25 and 15-11. The victory marks UAM's first season-opening win since the 2008 season.
UAM was led by junior Jessica Cuba in her Blossom debut. The Georgetown, Texas native paced the UAM offense with 14 kills on 33 attacks with eight errors for a .182 hitting percentage. She also reached double-digits on defense with a team-best 11 digs.
Senior Tori Bozzo and junior Christina Rini also reached double digits in kills with 12 and 10, respectively. Bozzo posted the better percentage with just four errors on 28 attempts for a team-high .286 percentage. Bozzo was also an effective option on defense with nine digs.
Junior Gabriella Jandotti added eight kills and a team-high five service aces in her UAM debut. Senior Amy Bazemore and freshman Brittney Beckham shared the setting duties in the opener. Bazemore finished with a team-high 20 assists followed by Beckham's 17.
Jillian Anderson led the Lady Rams (0-1) with 11 kills. ASU's Ashley Johnson recorded a double-double of 10 kills and 10 digs.
In the evening loss to Missouri S&T, final game scores were 26-24, 16-25, 17-25 and 9-25.
UAM opened the match with a .212 team hitting percentage with 10 kills and only three errors on 33 attempts to force extra points. The team followed with negative or zero hitting percentages in the final three sets.
Bozzo and Gandotti led UAM offensively with six kills each. Senior Tusalava Kuaea recorded her first double-digit defensive performance of the season with a team-high 15 digs. Bazemore aided the UAM offense with 17 assists.
Hayley Wright and Krista Haslag led S&T with 14 and 13 kills, respectively.
The Blossoms wrap up play in the West Florida Opening Weekend Tournament on Saturday with matches against Florida Tech at 9 a.m. and McKendree at 4:30 p.m.