SHERMAN, Texas – The University of Dallas volleyball team fell in three sets to Hardin-Simmons University on Friday afternoon, as they began the 2018 season at the Austin College Classic. UD fought to a two-point setback in the middle frame, but the Cowgirls rallied by with double-digit finals in the other sets and improved to 2-0 to start their campaign.
Things were tight in the opening stages of the game, with a couple ties through the first 12 points. Down 2-0, Isabel Garcia (San Antonio, Texas) sank a pair of kills for her first of her career and knotted things for UD. After falling a couple points further, the Crusaders rallied to make it a 6-6 contest. Dallas never led in the set, and the Cowgirls would go back up by as many as seven (18-11) thanks to a 12-5 run. The span concluded on four straight points that was ended by an Abigail Porras kill. UD cut the margin to four (18-14) before Hardin-Simmons finished on a 7-0 swing.
That surge continued into the onset of the second set with HSU rattling off the first five points. The Crusaders clawed back to eventually tie things at 15, as freshmen Dayjah Whyte (Round Rock, Texas) and Emma Holland (Waukesha, Wis.) pounded consecutive kills. An ace by White knotted the score at 17 a few plays later, and then a bad set by the opponent would give UD its only advantage of the set.
Five straight points changed the momentum back toward Hardin-Simmons, and the Crusaders last-moment surge was halted. Kills by Holland and Jordyn Fields (Thornton, Colo.) nipped the score to 23-22, but a kill by HSU's Sarah Bennett sealed the 2-0 lead overall.
Hardin-Simmons went on to claim the straight set sweep after erasing an early 2-0 gap and went on to a five-point led with 11-6 and 12-7 scores. A kill by Holland and service ace by Stephanie Janysek (Sinton, Texas) narrowed the margin a final time, but HSU responded with six in a row to go up by a comfortable gap.
Holland and Whyte tied team-highs for kills in their collegiate debuts with seven apiece. Garcia added five, as the team finished with 28 total. UD also managed 22 attack errors compared to 10 by the Cowgirls. Both teams had 26 assists, while HSU held the edge in aces (10-5) and digs (37-33). Janysek paced the Crusaders with 15 assists, and Elizabeth Smith (Broken Arrow, Texas) chipped in 10.
Nine players for the Crusaders made their college debuts.
Hardin-Simmons was led offensively by Morgan Prince, Kaytlynn Lewis, and Sarah Bennett with eight, six, and five kills, respectively. The Cowgirls also finished even with their foes in that stat with 28. Ashley Pierce made 16 assists.
Dallas was set to play a second match this evening versus Louisiana College, but difficulty with transportation left that match cancelled.
Dallas will conclude the Austin College Classic on Saturday with two morning matches. The first tilt is at 9 a.m. versus Hendrix College, with the final one following after against Concordia University.