“We were really pleased with how well the team matched up with such a physical Arkansas team,” said co-head coach Hugh Hernesman. “UA has really good chances of finishing in the top 25 this season.”
“Against UMKC, we weren’t playing system volleyball; the match broke down after the first or second contacts,” said Hernesman. “ Preseason is about finding the right combination of players and finding our team identity.”
Haley Koop and Meredith Hays registered nine kills each for the host Razorbacks (1-0) as NSU’s (0-3) Caiti O’Connell put up 11.
Meghan Vorhees collected a .400 attack percentage to aid UMKC (1-1) in their first victory of the season.
The Lady Demons held on tight in the first set with Arkansas, leading 14-12 until the Razorbacks went on a seven-point run to take the lead. NSU was unable to battle back, falling 25-23.
Against the Kangaroos, the Lady Demons once again battled tightly until UMKC slowly pulled away, picking up set one 25-20.
In sets two and three, the Razorbacks and UMKC put up a string of runs to come away with shutouts.
O’Connell laid down 23 kills on the day for a .298 attack percentage, followed by freshman Ashley Elrod with 16 kills.
“We had a really good day out of Caiti and Ashley as Caiti proved to be very versatile, playing on both sides and adjusting really well, and they both maintained consistency,” said Hernesman.
Keelie Arneson dug up 26 attacks for NSU while Amanda Kunz put up six blocks.
“Mackenzie Neely didn’t play today so we had two freshman on the floor who were able to match-up with a strong team,” said Hernesman.
Neely registered five kills, two digs and one block against the Kangaroos.
Lexi Ross put up 13 kills and a .545 attack percentage to push New Mexico to a 3-0 (25-23, 25-14, 25-19) victory over the Northwestern State volleyball team Saturday afternoon at the Arkansas Invitational at Barnhill Arena.
“We were much better today despite the outcome,” said fourth year co-head coach Hugh Hernesman. "New Mexico was a challenging team to play because they're balanced, physical and run a pretty good tempo offense.”
The Lobos (2-1) battled back from a 13-8 lead put up by the Lady Demons in the first set to aid in the win.
NSU put up another lead in set two, but were unable to maintain the 9-2 advantage as New Mexico put points on the board and took a commanding lead and the eventual 25-14 win.
Set three played a similar script as the Lobos trailed 7-4 and battled back to maintain a lead throughout the rest of the match.
Freshman Ashley Elrod led NSU with eight kills, seven digs and a .250 attack percentage, followed by junior Mackenzie Neely knocking down seven kills and seven digs while Keelie Arneson dug up 16 New Mexico attacks.
“Where we lost the match was on isolated runs in just a couple rotations,” said Hernesman. “This is why we play a challenging schedule - so that we can have strong teams expose our weaknesses. We will learn from this and keep building for the next tournament."
Sophomore outside hitter Caiti O’Connell earned All-Tournament team accolades as she collected 27 kills and six blocks on the weekend.
“Caiti had a good weekend despite the overall team outcome,” said Hernesman. “She shows true consistency on both sides.”
The Lady Demons hit the road on Friday to take on Texas State, Prairie View-A&M, North Texas and Utah at the North Texas Invitational beginning at ten o’clock. NSU will make their home debut Sept. 17 when they host Southern Mississippi at 7:00 in Prather Coliseum.