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Volleyball: Balanced Effort Keeps Winning Ways Going for Louisiana, Move To 8-0
Ragin’ Cajuns pick up doubleheader sweep in Little Rock, move to 8-0
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Four players reached double digits in kills for the second time on Friday powering the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns Volleyball team to a straight sets sweep (25-15, 25-19, 25-23) of Little Rock at the Jack Stephens Center.
With the win Louisiana (8-0, 2-0 Sun Belt) continued its undefeated start to the 2020 season and completed a doubleheader sweep of the Trojans (0-3, 0-2 Sun Belt) on the opening day of conference play.
Earlier in the day, the Ragin' Cajuns withstood a strong offensive attack from a Little Rock squad that hit above .300, and a marathon first set that finished 37-35, to come away the victor in an exhilarating conference opener.
Kelsey Bennett's match-high 15 kills led the quartet that landed double figures in pacing Louisiana's offensive attack to a 47-29 advantage in kills. The defense also pressured the Trojans into a .118 hitting percentage, slowing down the hosts after a hot start to the day.
Louisiana used the combination of Bennett and Kara Barnes, who together combined for 10 kills in each of the first two sets, to open a commanding 2-0 match lead. The duo combined for three kills during a key 4-0 run in the opening frame that extended the lead to 20-13, then again at the finish line in the second set to take the score to 24-16 and put the hosts away.
Hali Wisnoskie took over the third set to help lead the way back from a 9-5 deficit. She scored eight kills in the stanza, starting with a stretch where she scored each of Louisiana's five offensive tallies to trim the deficit to 12-11. Trailing 23-20, Wisnoskie triggered a match-ending 5-0 run with her final kill of the night and secured the final point with a service ace.
LEADING THE RAGIN' CAJUNS
Bennett's production marked her third outing of double digits in kills in the past four matches. Adding in 11 digs, she collected her second double-double of the day.
Wisnoskie totaled 12 kills giving her double digits for the seventh time in eight outings. The eight kills in the match-clinching set tied her season-high for an individual frame, matching the total recorded in the second set of Friday's opener.
Kara Barnes produced 10 kills and led the squad with four blocks. Freshman Taylor Gates hit double digits for the first time in her collegiate career, also tallying 10 kills.
Hannah Ramriez scooped 16 digs to lead an effort that resulted in a 58-42 edge in the category for the Ragin' Cajuns. Ramirez stretched her streak of consecutive matches with double-digit digs to 20 straight dating back to last Oct. 11.
One match removed from a career-high 64 assists, Avery Breaux passed out 40 helpers. She hit the 40-plus mark in a three-set match for the second time this season and posted her second effort of 13-plus assists per sets on the day.
Louisiana plays the third and final match of its Sun Belt-opening series in Little Rock on Saturday with first serve set for 1 p.m. from the Jack Stephens Center. The contest will air live on ESPN.
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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns Volleyball team survived its first five-set test of the season by claiming a 3-2 (37-35, 25-21, 15-25, 23-25, 15-13) victory over Little Rock in the opening match of a three-match Sun Belt series with the Trojans at the Jack Stephens Center.
Hali Wisnoskie led the attack with a career-high 27 kills as Louisiana (7-0, 1-0 Sun Belt) extended its undefeated start to the 2020 season.
Overcoming set point eight times in an exhilarating opening set that went well past the normal 25 points provided a key momentum swing for the Ragin' Cajuns who were challenged by a Trojans squad that hit above .300 the entire morning.
Wisnoskie landed eight kills alone in the second set in lifting Louisiana to a 2-0 match lead. She scored three straight kills to break a 9-all tie and the Ragin' Cajuns never lost the lead. Perhaps Kelsey Bennett's most timely kill of the contest came after a 5-0 Little Rock run had sliced the lead to 23-21.
The Trojans (0-2, 0-1 Sun Belt) flipped the script in the third set with a key eight-point run early on and wound up hitting .500 in the frame to extend the match. The hosts found the floor four more times than the Ragin' Cajuns in the fourth set, scoring 19 kills, to force the winner-take-all frame.
Bennett served Louisiana out to a 3-0 lead in the match-deciding set and with back-to-back kills following an 8-all tie kept her squad one step ahead. Twice down the stretch Wisnoskie would score a kill after Little Rock pulled within a point, then a crucial block from Cami Hicks and Desiree Johnson was key to preventing the Trojans from playing in extra points.
LEADING THE RAGIN' CAJUNS
Wisnoskie scored at least seven kills in three of the five frames in building her new career-high figure. She reached the 20-kill mark for the second time this season and fifth time in her career.
Bennett tied her career-high with 18 kills, doing so off 43 swings on a .395 hitting percentage. It marked the second time in the past three matches she's totaled double-digit kills.
Kara Barnes' 13 kills and Desiree Johnson's 10 kills provided the remainder of the bulk of Louisiana's offense.
In her first extended playing time, the freshman Hicks led the Ragin' Cajuns with four blocks. Wisnoskie had a hand in three blocks while Barnes and Bennett were also involved in multiple blocks.
Hannah Ramirez rounded up a career-high tying 29 digs leading a group of five players in double figures.
Avery Breaux also collected a personal milestone as her match-high 64 assists marked a new career-high total, surpassing her previous best of 55 vs. Appalachian State on Oct. 4, 2019. She added 11 digs for her team-leading fourth double-double.
The Ragin' Cajuns and Trojans return to the court at the Jack Stephens Center on Friday evening for the second match of their Sun Belt opening series. First serve is scheduled for 6 p.m. live on ESPN?.
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