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Volleyball: Five-Set Battle Slips Away from 15th-ranked Louisiana

Ragin’ Cajuns attempt to even the Sun Belt series with Texas State spoiled by the visitors comeback

LAFAYETTE – Texas State was able to slow down the re-energized 15th-ranked Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns Volleyball team just in time to allow the visitors to rally for a 3-2 (14-25, 18-25, 25-20, 25-15, 15-10) win which completed a doubleheader sweep on Friday at Earl K. Long Gym.
The Ragin’ Cajuns (11-2, 5-2 Sun Belt) seemed to quickly forget about a straight sets loss to the Bobcats (10-1, 4-0 Sun Belt) earlier in the day, storming out of the gate with 29 kills off 70 swings on a .329 hitting percentage in gaining a 2-0 match lead.
Avery Breaux set the tone early by serving out the first four points of the contest and Louisiana lead from start-to-finish in the first set. Texas State closed the deficit to 8-6, but Kara Barnes slammed home consecutive kills and threw up a block solo increasing the lead to 11-6 and sending the Ragin’ Cajuns on their way to victory.
In the second set, the Ragin’ Cajuns refused to relinquish the lead as they quickly separated from a pair of ties. Barnes was once again the catalyst for putting the Bobcats away as she scored two kills and had a hand in a block during a three-point run that stretched the lead to 20-15.
Texas State wouldn’t grab its first lead of the match until the third set. The final time that the Bobcats pulled ahead sparked a key momentum shift in the match. Out of a timeout after the Ragin’ Cajuns scored five straight points for an 18-16 lead, an ace and two kills from Lauren Teske pulled the visitors ahead to stay at 19-18.
The Bobcats took advantage of the open doo which extended the contest, limiting the Ragin’ Cajuns to just eight kills and a .000 hitting percentage to claim a defensive battle in the fourth set. In the decisive stanza it was a set-opening 7-1 run for Texas State that proved to be the difference.
Barnes led the Ragin’ Cajuns offense for the second straight match as she turned in a career-high 16 kills on only 25 swings. Her .480 hitting percentage was also a personal-best for a match with 20-plus attempts.
Hali Wisnoskie (13 kills) and Kelsey Bennett (12 kills) combined to produce 25 kills. Freshman Cami Hicks scored a season-high nine kills off of 18 error-free swings.
The frontline was where Barnes also shined as she threw up a new career-high of seven blocks (1 BS, 6 BA). Bennett and Hicks each had a hand in four blocks.
Libero Hannah Ramirez continued her string of consecutive matches with double-digit digs – now at 25 straight outings since last Oct. 11 – by hauling in a match-high 25 digs. Ramirez had at least three digs in each set highlighted by nine alone in the third set.
Bennett also reached double figures in digs with 17 resulting in her sixth double-double in the last nine matches. Milayne Danna posted a season-high 15 digs, contributing to the 83 digs collected by the team.
Breaux passed out 51 assists and added 12 digs to her stat line for her sixth double-double of the season. The Scott, La., native used her digs total to eclipse 1,000 digs in her collegiate career, increasing her total to 1,007.
No. 15 Louisiana and Texas State meet one more time at Earl K. Long Gym, wrapping up the three-match Sun Belt series with a 1 p.m. match on Saturday. The contest will air live on ESPN�.
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