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Volleyball: Cajuns Earn 20th Win; Rallies Past ULM In Five-Set Marathon

LAFAYETTE – Katey Kyle came off the bench and served a go-ahead ace in the decisive fifth set and the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns volleyball team scored the final five points to rally past ULM in a five-set marathon, 23-25, 25-14, 21-25, 25-16, 15-12, in the Sun Belt Conference regular-season finale for both teams on Sunday at Earl K. Long Gym.
 
Chanelle Gardner and Stacey Reilly combined for 25 kills as Louisiana (20-12, 9-11 Sun Belt) posted its first 20-win season since a 32-12 mark in 1990. Andrea Hole, one of four seniors playing in their final home game for the Ragin’ Cajuns, posted a double-double with 43 assists and 18 digs while Caitlyn Auxilien added 15 digs in her final home appearance.

The win cliched the No. 6 seed for Louisiana, which will face third-seeded Arkansas State (20-9) in the first round of the Sun Belt Conference Volleyball Championship that begins Thursday in San Marcos, Texas.
 
"It’s a great benchmark to get to 20 wins," Louisiana head coach Heather Mazeitis-Fontenot said. "We talked about it last year after finishing with 19. It was an important win for us heading into the (Sun Belt Conference) tournament and it’s an important win for our program. And to do it on Senior Night … it’s just exciting."
 
Both teams traded wins through the first sets before ULM (9-24, 3-17 Sun Belt) built an 8-5 lead in the final set on a kill by Hope Pawlik. Kills by Kyle, Abby Filce, Gardner and Hole gave the Ragin’ Cajuns a 9-8 lead before the Warhawks rallied.

A pair of kills by Hadley Swartz gave ULM a 12-10 lead, but a Taylor Zaeske attempt allowed Louisiana to break serve and cut the lead to 12-11.
 
Behind the serve of Kyle, who finished with 12 digs, the Ragin’ Cajuns tied the final set at 12-12 on an attack error by Swartz before her second ace of the match gave Louisiana the lead for good. ULM then followed with a second attack error before Reilly sealed the match for Louisiana with an unassisted kill.
 
"Katey has been doing a great job and she had a starting spot in the beginning for us," Mazeitis-Fontenot said. "She had an injury and has been struggling the whole season to get back to her original form. I was so pleased to see what she was capable of bringing to help our team."
 
Gardner led Louisiana, which hit .236 for the match and recorded nine service aces, with 14 kills. Reilly added 11 kills and 18 digs for the Ragin’ Cajuns while senior Kaylee Nemeth added nine kills and three blocks in her final home match.
 
Sara Mossakowski and Filce posted eight kills each for the Ragin’ Cajuns with senior Kelly Wiesmann adding three kills and an assist off the bench.
 
ULM was led by Pawlik, who posted a double-double with 17 kills and 13 digs. Zaeske added 13 kills for the Warhawks while Swartz posted 10. Bayleigh Hoffman led ULM with 46 assists while Marcela Araya posted a match-high 23 digs.