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Volleyball: Match Lead Slips Away from Louisiana in Five-Set Loss to UT Arlington

Visiting Mavericks pull off reverse sweep to keep the battle for Sun Belt seeding going

LAFAYETTE – UT Arlington limited Louisiana Volleyball to single digits in kills in both sets following a 2-0 match deficit allowing the visitors to recover and claim a reverse sweep (24-26, 22-25, 25-17, 25-16, 15-10) on Friday night at Earl K. Long Gym.
The Mavericks (10-14, 8-7 Sun Belt) applied pressure all night with an offensive attack to surpassed double digits in kills every set and finished with a 37-21 edge in kills during the rally back to victory. The Ragin’ Cajuns (14-9, 9-6 Sun Belt) were high-error during the two sets that led to the winner-take-all frame, hitting negative (15 K, 16 E, 56 TA) while UTA evened up the contest.
The loss prevented Louisiana from finalizing its seed for the Nov. 18-21 Sun Belt Conference Tournament. The team still controls its own destiny for the SBC West No. 2 seed having one more opportunity to get the one win needed on Saturday (Nov. 13) vs. Texas State at E.K. Long Gym.
Louisiana appeared to regain control in Set 4 by racing out to a 4-0 lead off the serve of Siena DeCambra. UT Arlington responded with a five-point run to flip the momentum, then rebounded from a service error to claim three straight points, starting with a Briana Brown kill, to claim the lead for good.
Coco Gillett and Kelsey Bennett furnished kills to put the Ragin’ Cajuns on top early in Set 5 and the lead was still in the hosts hands at 4-3 after a Kara Barnes kill. However, one of the all-too-familiar Mavericks runs followed as UTA scored six straight, including three kills from Brown, to set up the final outcome.
Early in the match it was Louisiana that came up with the timely rallies to build its 2-0 lead.
Trailing 17-12 in the opening set, the Ragin’ Cajuns got back-to-back kills from Emery Judkins and Gillett then an ace from Cami Hicks to draw closer at 17-15. The comeback was completed when three straight winners following a 22-21 deficit, starting with a kill from Hicks, gave Louisiana the upper-hand when extra points arrived.
The 2-0 match lead was set up when Louisiana used a 6-0 run to erase a 19-15 deficit in Set 2. Along the way DeCambra had a kill and was involved in a block with Barnes, then Bennett scored the kill for the lead. UT Arlington forged a 22-all tie, but it was short lived as Bennett fired off the first of three straight kills that led to set point.
For the 10th consecutive meeting the Ragin’ Cajuns and Mavericks played a match that lasted at least four sets – this one the fifth instance the matchup was decided in five sets during the stretch.
Gillett led the team in three categories as she produced a team-leading 17 kills while scooping 11 digs and recording two service aces. She picked up her seventh double-double of the season.
Judkins (8) and Bennett (7) combined for 15 kills and together accounted for 60 swings. With nine digs, Bennett reached the first 300-300 season of kills and digs in her collegiate career.
Barnes supplied seven kills in her return to the court after missing the past three matches with injury. She posted a match-high five blocks to push her season total past 80 (now at 81).
DeCambra handed out 40 assists, was one dig shy of a double-double and finished second on the squad with four blocks.
Senior Hannah Ramirez tied Gillett to team-high honors with 11 digs. Eight different Ragin’ Cajuns collected multiple digs with Jordan Valley being the third in double figures with 10 digs.
Louisiana gets another chance at capturing the SBC West No. 2 seed and closes out the regular season on Saturday, Nov. 13 during a 6 p.m. match with Texas State (17-11, 13-2 Sun Belt).
The Ragin’ Cajuns, who won in four sets in San Marcos back on Oct. 2, seek their first-ever season sweep of the Bobcats.
A live stream is available on ESPN� with Louisiana Sports Hall of Famer Dan McDonald providing play-by-play commentary and live stats can be accessed at CajunStats.com.
Follow the Ragin’ Cajuns on Twitter (@RaginCajunsVB), Facebook (/RaginCajunsVB) or Instagram (@RaginCajunsVB) to stay up-to-date on all that is happening with Louisiana Volleyball.

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