MONROE, La. -- ULM dropped a 3-1 tilt to UT Arlington on Saturday evening to cap the 2013 campaign. Despite it being senior night, it was three freshmen and a junior who rose to the occasion for the Warhawks at Fant-Ewing Coliseum.
In the contest, junior libero Marcela Araya recorded 25 digs and climbed to the top of the single-season leaderboard, ending 2013 with a new ULM-record 549 kills. Araya's 4.69 digs per set average in 2013 ranks second all-time in ULM history.
"I feel proud of the team today because we played really well and we fought hard. I'm satisfied with the effort. I'm sad we lost, but I'm proud of myself, too, because I work really hard," Araya said.
"I'm real happy for Marcela. She deserves to be on top of all three lists and she'll get there early next year with the career mark. I congratulate her, I think it's fantastic," head coach Patrick Hiltz said.
"I thought Katie Harrington did a good job tonight with 45 assists and Kaitlyn is starting to get consistent for us in the middle, and that's all we've been asking for. I thought she did a good job, as well," Hiltz added.
The Warhawks (6-28, 2-16 SBC) opened the match with a very hard-fought first set. Down nearly the entire set after a seven-all tie, ULM stayed close to UTA throughout, never trailing by more than three. Then, the Warhawks gained the lead at 24-23 on a kill by Shearer. The Mavericks would come back to tie the set at 24-all, but ULM ended the stanza on a 2-0 run to earn the 26-24 set victory and took a 1-0 lead in the match. The set win snapped a 12-set skid for the Warhawks.
"We sured some things up and found some openings. We were able to relax a little bit. Unfortunately, we're still not finding the court enough with our hitting, and that's the difference between winning and losing right now for us. That's going to change with experience and understanding what to do with the ball in what situation. The more reps we get, the better we are going to get at that," Hiltz said. "You can expect some up-and-downs with freshmen outside hitters."
UTA (17-14, 10-8 SBC) controlled nearly the entire second and third sets, taking them 25-14 and 25-16, respectively.
In the fourth set, ULM rallied from an 18-13 deficit to draw within two at 20-18, but the Mavericks closed the fram on a 5-2 spurt to take the match 3-1.
"Overall, I'm not upset with our effort. I would have liked to have won the match, but I see improvement," Hiltz said.
Swartz ends her 2013 with 314 kills, the most by a Warhawk since 2006. Pawlik, meanwhile ended the year with 250 kills. The freshmen tandem are the first two ULM players to have 300-plus and 250-plus kills since 2011 (Zuzana Markova-300 kills, Samantha Morse-289 kills).
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