FORT SMITH, Ark. – A rough hitting night spelled doom for Southeastern as it fell to Arkansas-Fort Smith 3-0 in a mid-week out-of-conference matchup on Tuesday night in Fort Smith, Ark.
The Savage Storm slipped to 6-6 on the year and will need to put this loss in the rearview mirror quickly as they will hop back into Great American Conference play Oct. 4 and 5 against Arkansas Tech and Harding, respectively, both on the road.
Southeastern dropped the first set 25-16, nearly picked up set two but fell 25-23 before seeing the match end with a 25-17 loss in the third set.
SE hit just .078 on the match as a team and for the first time this season had no hitters with double-digit kill totals.
Emily Gentle was the closest with nine kills, while Ariel Sanders added seven, Megan Kunkel six and the duo of Madelynne Cera and Courtney Miller chipped in five each.
Cera averaged just under 10 assists per set with 29 on the match and she pitched in six digs and was in on one of SE’s two team blocks.
The back-row defensive work was split over a trio led by Taylor Benner who picked up 14 digs, while Gentle added 13 and Kunkel 10.
Julia Benford had the team’s only solo block, while Cera and Sanders combined on another.
The Storm fell in a hole early in the first set and were unable to recover, as they could not put together a run of more than two points in a comeback attempt and fell 25-16.
Set two got off to a similar start, but a 7-1 SE run gave the Storm a four point lead which they would cling to until a three-point run finally put UAFS in front 18-17. The teams would trade points and the Storm would take a 23-21 lead, but the Lions would score the final four points to take the set 25-23.
SE again came out strong in the third set with the first three points, but UAFS answered and the teams traded the lead back-and-forth until a span where the Lions used a 9-3 run to turn a 10-10 tie into a 19-13 lead and hold on for the 25-17 set win to clinch the match.