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UWA volleyball loses season opener

PENSACOLA, Fla. – The University of West Alabama volleyball team began its season on Friday with a close loss to Florida Tech in both school’s first contest of the 2010 Comfort Inn-vitational hosted by the University of West Florida. UWA falls to 0-1 while the Panthers improve to 1-0.

The back-and-forth nature of the match was evident from the start as the first game’s lead exchanged hands several times before Tech pulled out on top 26-24.

UWA took control of the affair by taking the next two sets by scores of 25-17 and 25-19. The two sets were by the far the best of the day for the Red and White as UWA hit at a .324 clip in the second and at .297 in the third.

The Panthers responded with a dominating 25-17 fourth set to force the deciding frame.

Florida Tech appeared to be in control of that set as well, building up a 10-5 lead before the Tigers went on a 6-1 run to deadlock things at 11. The set would be tied twice more – at 13-13 and 15-15 – before the Panthers closed things out and won the fifth 17-15.

Preseason all-Gulf South Conference team member Thais Hollerbach recorded a double-double in the contest as she led the team in digs and kills with 25 and 15 respectively. Alexis McHale led the way with 27 assists.

The Tigers out-hit Florida Tech by a .164 to .161 mark in the losing effort.

UWA was scheduled to play Puerto Rico at Rio Piedras later on Friday but the Jerezanas were unable to make it to Pensacola for the weekend.

The Tigers will next hit the court on Saturday with a match against Eckerd College set for 11:30 a.m. before wrapping things up with a 5:30 p.m. contest against Wilmington University.