Volleyball: Cajuns Close Out Sawyer Camillo Classic With Split
Nicholls State Box Score (PDF)
Houston Box Score (PDF)
LAFAYETTE – The Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns volleyball team split a pair of matches Saturday afternoon in the Sawyer Camillo Memorial Classic held at Earl K. Long Gym and finished as runner-up in the event.
The Ragin’ Cajuns (2-5) outlasted Nicholls State (2-3) winning 3-2 (20-25, 25-20, 25-15, 15-25, 15-13) in a back-and-forth, five-set contest. The win set up a winner-take-all championship match with Houston.
Houston (5-1) bounced back from an opening set defeat, riding its offense which held a 65-45 advantage in kills, to claim a 3-1 (22-25, 30-28, 25-17, 25-20) in a tightly contested tournament finale with the Ragin’ Cajuns.
Sara Mossakowski, back in the lineup after missing opening weekend with injury, continued to produce offense. She finished the day with 25 kills and extended her string of consecutive matches with double digit kills to three.
Chanelle Gardner enjoyed season-best performances on the frontline. Gardner totaled 12 blocks over the two matches with her eight blocks against Houston spearheading a team season-best 12 blocks against the Cougars.
Gardner joined setter Jessica Bartczyszyn as the Cajuns’ representatives on the all-tournament.
Louisiana concludes its current four-match homestand on Tuesday, Sept. 8 hosting Southern University at Long Gym. First serve is set for 7 p.m.
Louisiana vs. Nicholls State
The Ragin’ Cajuns and Colonels’ contest proved to be evenly matched. The squads were nearly even in each statistical category over the first two sets and each of the first four sets featured identical scores.
In the first two sets, the teams took turns taking control early before locking up a win.
The Colonels broke a 2-all tie in the opening set with an ace by Kali Schwartz and never relinquished the advantage on to a 25-20 win. The Cajuns registered the first four points of the second set, then broke free from a 5-4 contest with back-to-back kills from Gardner and McKenzie John.
Fast starts determined the winner of the third and fourth sets. A 7-1 run to start the third set landed the Cajuns a 2-1 lead in the match. The Colonels countered with a 5-1 run begin the fourth set on the way to evening the match.
Louisiana rallied from an 8-5 deficit at the midpoint of the deciding set to grab the match victory. The rally was complete when a block thrown up by Gardner and Bartczyszyn knotted the score at 11-all.
The block paid dividends in the Cajuns grabbing the lead for good as Hanna Rovira and Gardner combined for a block for a 13-12 edge. Gardner clinched the match three rallies later with her 16th kill of the contest.
Louisiana vs. Houston
The rematch with Houston showed both teams were familiar with one another, meeting for the second straight weekend. The Cougars had posted a straight sets sweep in the season opener at the Texas Tech Invitational.
The teams combined for 110 kills, 108 assists, and 171 digs. The match featured 36 tied scores (26 over combined over the first two sets) and 16 lead changes.
After taking a 25-22 win in the opening set by taking advantage of Houston’s errors, the Ragin’ Cajuns had a near-miss in taking a 2-0 lead in the match.
Louisiana held set point twice, 25-24 and 27-26, but service errors extended the frame. The Cougars eventually capitalized, snapping a 28-all tie with kills from Keandra McCardell and Claire McCown to capture the set 30-28 and even the match.
Houston’s offense was the difference in the final two sets. The Cougars out-killed the Cajuns 34-20 down the stretch, meanwhile the Louisiana offense which had just eight errors over the first two sets committed 15 in the final two.
Sophomore Stacey Reilly made her season debut and played in all four sets. Reilly contributed 14 digs (third-highest total on the team) playing the back row.