THIBODAUX, La. – After a slow start in its Southland Conference opener, the Nicholls State University volleyball team picked up a hard-fought victory in set three over Central Arkansas, but the Colonels were unable to force a fifth set as they fell 3-1 (25-16, 25-19, 26-28, 25-20) on Thursday night at Stopher Gym.
With the loss, Nicholls slipped to 4-12 on the season and 0-1 in league play. Central Arkansas improved to 7-7 and 1-1.
Kaci Eaton led Nicholls with 14 kills in the loss, while Sydney Lerille and Brieanna Hill added nine each. The Colonels hit .200 for the match, led by Lerille’s .381 clip. Eaton had a double-double with 16 digs, and Alexa Perry led the team with 23.
The Colonels struggled early on, leading only twice in the first two sets. In the third, Nicholls attacked at a .341 mark and had the advantage most of the way. UCA fought back from a 23-19 deficit to force extra points, but Eaton and Lerille smashed a pair of kills to start a 3-0 run to end the match.
In the final set, UCA jumped out to a 7-0 lead which eventually swelled to 20-10. Following a timeout, the Colonels made a late push by scoring six straight points but were unable to come closer than three the rest of the way.
Jade Piper led the team with 25 assists, while Lucija Barac finished with 24.
Haley Tippett had a match-high 18 kills for UCA, and Samantha Anderson and Megan Nash chipped in with 15 each.
Nicholls will return to the court on Saturday, Sept. 24 at home against Northwestern State. First serve is scheduled for 1 p.m.