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Volleyball: Cajuns Weather Early Warhawks Charge, Win in Five

MONROE – A trio of service aces, a pair from Chloe Cordell and one from Chanelle Gardner, were key to the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns volleyball team breaking free from a 5-all tie in the decisive fifth set on the way to a 15-10 victory which completed a rally from a two-set deficit against ULM in a Sun Belt Conference match Wednesday evening at Fant-Ewing Coliseum in Monroe.




The 3-2 (13-25, 22-25, 25-23, 25-20, 15-10) victory gave Louisiana (5-13, 1-5 Sun Belt) its first Sun Belt win of the season and marked the squad’s second straight road triumph.




Trailing 20-17 in the fourth set, Gardner broke the Warhawks serve with a kill then served up seven consecutive points to lift Louisiana to a 25-20 win which forced the winner-take-all fifth set.




The Cajuns hit .188, the team’s highest mark in the match at that point, and held the Warhawks (11-8, 2-3 Sun Belt) below .100 for the second straight set (.088) on the way to evening the contest.




Louisiana registered a season-high 15 blocks for the match, none bigger than when Sara Mossakowski and Nia Antoine teamed for one with the Cajuns clinging to a 10-8 lead in the fifth set. The final block, a solo stop by Cordell, placed the Cajuns at match point.




Gardner led all Cajuns with nine kills. She was supported by eight kills from Mossakowski, seven from Cordell and six off of Antoine’s hands.




Keely Hayes came off the bench to serve as setter the final four sets and dished out 24 assists. Hanna Rovira contributed a team-high 13 digs.




Louisiana was able to overcome ULM’s 55-39 advantage in kills which was paced by 21 kills from Hope Pawlik. UL stepped up its defense, registering 10 blocks over the final three sets and holding the Warhawks’ hitting percentage at .100 or below each of the final three frames.




The Ragin’ Cajuns avenged a five-set loss to the Warhawks back on Sept. 25 at Earl K. Long Gym and extended their win streak in matchups played in Monroe to four straight.




Wednesday’s match was the first of a three-match road trip this week for Louisiana. The team completes the trip in Alabama with matches at South Alabama (Oct. 9) and Troy (Oct. 10).




The Warhawks scored the first four points of the opening set and led the entire frame. After an ace by Davis trimmed the Cajuns deficit to 8-6, ULM used a 7-0 run to take control.


After forging a pair of ties early in the second set, the Cajuns garnered their first lead at 10-9 after back-to-back Warhawks attack errors. A kill from Rovira and attack error by Pawlik increased the lead to 12-9.




ULM would erase a 14-10 deficit with a 9-0 run to reclaim the lead. The Cajuns battled back and were within a point, 22-21, after a Mossakowski kill. The Warhawks answered with a kill from Pawlik, then an attack error by Antoine created some breathing room before set point was reached on another kill from Pawlik.




The teams swapped scores through the first 28 rallies of the third set and were locked in a tie 14 times. Three straight ULM points, the last on a service ace by Tara Jenkins, provided a temporary momentum shift for the hosts.




Taking advantage of four straight ULM attack errors the Cajuns erased a 20-18 deficit. A block thrown up by Gardner and Hayes staked Louisiana to a 24-21 lead, then after two ULM scores Gardner landed set point with a kill that extended the match.