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Volleyball: Cajuns Outlast Trojans in Four, Extend Record SBC Start
LAFAYETTE – The Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns Volleyball team captured a second straight Sun Belt weekend sweep and extended its program-record league start to 4-0 with a four-set win (25-19, 25-14, 18-25, 25-20) over Little Rock at Earl K. Long Gym.
The undefeated start to league play is not only the best of the Sun Belt era, but it equals the all-time program record set by the 1986 team in the Southland Conference.
Louisiana (10-7, 4-0) hit .354 with 26 kills against only three errors in opening a 2-0 lead. With the Trojans (5-11, 1-3 Sun Belt) threatening to force a fifth set, the Ragin' Cajuns stormed to the finish line with eight kills down the stretch of the fourth set charged by Nia Antoine who landed five of the last six herself.
Louisiana won the defensive battle from Little Rock, holding a 12-5 edge in blocks and a 75-73 margin in digs. Offensively, the Ragin' Cajuns hit above .200 for the fifth straight match (.227) and limited the Trojans to a .151 clip.
The win completed the sweep of the Sun Belt's Arkansas schools over the weekend. The Ragin' Cajuns topped Arkansas State in five sets on Friday evening to keep the undefeated league start intact.
LEADING THE RAGIN' CAJUNS
Antoine led Louisiana in kills with 15 on 26 swings and a .500 hitting percentage. Stacey Reilly chipped in nine kills and both Dree'Ana Abram and Hali Wisnoskie contributed eight kills.
The defensive effort was a group effort on both the front and back row. Abram (5), Reilly (4) and Wisnoskie (4) each threw up four blocks. Four individuals scooped double digits in digs: Sydney Davis (19), Lexi Hebert (17), Jessica Bartczyszyn (11) and Reilly (10).
The Ragin' Cajuns play their final non-conference match of the season, and wrap up a three-match homestand, on Tuesday, Oct. 3 against Southeastern Louisiana. First serve against the Lions (2-15) is set for 6:30 p.m.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- The Ragin' Cajuns took charge of the opening set by stringing together five straight points which stretched out an 8-7 lead. A kill by Wisnoskie and ace from Bartczyszyn ignited the run.
The Trojans later cut the lead to 20-17, but Louisiana used a Wisnoskie kill, Hebert ace and Abram kill off an overpass to pull ahead 23-17 and lock up the set.
- The second set was back-and-forth with the lead changing hands five times. The turning point came off the serve of Abram who starting with a kill from Reilly for a 14-13 lead served up seven unanswered points to bury the visitors.
- Little Rock turned up the defensive pressure in the third set collecting 18 digs, throwing up three blocks, forcing Louisiana into four reception errors and eight attack errors in taking a 25-18 triumph which extend the match to a fourth set.
- The Trojans pulled ahead 9-5 in the fourth frame after breaking a tie with a Maritza Mesa kill and three straight Cajuns miscues. Louisiana was unable to find its footing on offense as the set progressed, netting only three kills halfway through and trailed 16-13.
Once the squad found its footing it was a scoring spree all the way to match point. Starting with an Abram kill, the Ragin' Cajuns landed 11 kills over the final 16 rallies to overwhelm the Trojans.
- Lexi Hebert's 17 digs marked the season-high total of her freshman campaign. Hebert has scooped double digits in digs in three of four Sun Belt matches and is averaging 3.44 in conference play.
- Sydney Davis' 19 digs pushed her season total to 294. She's now six shy of reaching 300 in a season for the third time in her career (376 in 2015 as a freshman; 508 in 2016 as a sophomore).
- Dree'Ana Abram continued her efficient approach in attacking in Sun Belt play. Her .389 hitting percentage (8 K, 1 E, 19 TA) marked the fourth straight match to begin league play in which she hit above .300.
- Jessica Bartczyszyn's 11 digs added to her 36 assists gave the senior setter a double-double in both weekend matches. She averaged 10 assists per set and 2.56 digs per set over the nine sets of play combined against Arkansas State and Little Rock.
- As a team, the Ragin' Cajuns picked up 23 blocks (11 vs. ASU, 12 vs. LR) over the weekend. The 2.56 average per set marked the highest weekend total since averaging 3.07 per set during the Sawyer Camillo Memorial Classic (Sept. 1-2).
- Stacey Reilly's nine kills increased her career total to 913 as she continues to climb toward the 1,000 mark. Her season total moved to 184, leaving her 16 shy of reaching 200 in a season for the third time in her career.
- With eight kills, freshman Hali Wisnoskie increased her season total to 169. The Columbus, Texas, native is 31 kills shy of becoming the first freshman with 200 in a season since Stacey Reilly in 2014.
- The Ragin' Cajuns improved to 8-10 vs. Little Rock with Heather Mazeitis-Fontenot, the most wins by any coach in program history in the series.
- Head coach Heather Mazeitis-Fontenot picked up her 129th win as Ragin' Cajuns head coach. She's now seven (7) wins shy of tying Wilo Colon's program-record 136 victories.
FOLLOW THE RAGIN' CAJUNS
For more information on Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns Volleyball, as well as all of Ragin' Cajuns Athletics, visit RaginCajuns.com. Fans can also follow along with the team on Facebook (/ULVolleyball), Twitter (@RaginCajunsVB) and Instagram (@RaginCajunsVB).
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