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Volleyball: Lady Demons’ second-set adjustment leads to exhibition win

NATCHITOCHES – Making an in-match adjustment was one of the things head coach Sean Kiracofe wanted to see from his team in Saturday’s exhibition match. Northwestern State did just that after dropping the first set to UL Lafayette going on to take the 3-1 (17-25, 25-20, 25-16, 15-13) win.
"One of our strengths has been that improved ball control and defense that allows us to pick up crazy situations," Kiracofe said. "That was something we did not handle in that first set which I did not expect to happen.
"We were able to make that big change in the second and turn them back into offensive situations for us, and with the lineup that we have right now we have a bunch of different offensive options to throw at teams."
Eight different players scored at least two kills in the match for the Lady Demons with only Addison McDermott reaching double figures at 12, behind a 6-kill second set.
The second became the turning point in the match for NSU after Lafayette used a 6-0 run in the first to sprint to the 25-17 opening winner. The Lady Demons had 6-0 stretch of their own in the second to steal the momentum on the right arm of Audrey Quesnel.
The sophomore had three of her set-leading six kills during the run putting NSU ahead for good at 13-8. Quesnel finished the set with six kills on six swings and the match with seven kills on 13 error-free swings and a solo block to her score sheet.
It was a pair of newcomers that carried the load in the third set as Ashyln Svoboda and Symone Wesley combined for eight kills and 11 digs.
A 6-1 NSU run early in the set, spearheaded by a pair of McDermott kills, bumped the Lady Demons ahead at 13-9. Wesley and Svoboda found the floor three times in the final five points giving the Lady Demons the easy 25-16 third-set victory.
"Naturally someone is going to rise up and get a few more attempts or get a few more kills in important situations," Kiracofe said. "But our stat sheet should have very even distribution on who is getting the ball and kills because we have those options. We need to be able to do a good job of spreading it around to take advantage of all that."
Wesley finished strong with four more kills in the shortened fourth set, giving her nine on the day to going along with her 13 digs. She ended the match with one of her three aces on the day after kill from Reagan Lee that halted a late push from the Cajuns evened the set at 13.
The Lady Demons being the 2021 season on the road next Friday with a pair of matches in the Tulane Invite. The season opener against the Green Wave is set for 12:30 p.m. with a match against Cal later that day at 4:30 p.m.