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Volleyball: Louisiana Powers Past SLU, Extends Win Steak to Six
LAFAYETTE – The Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns Volleyball team stretched its season and home court winning streak to six matches with a hard-fought 3-0 (29-27, 27-25, 25-14) win over Southeastern Louisiana Tuesday night at Earl K. Long Gym.
Louisiana (11-7) staged late comebacks to capture the first and second sets from Southeastern Louisiana (2-16) in extra points. The Ragin' Cajuns put the match away in the third set when freshman Avery Breaux served 16 consecutive points to stake the hosts to an 18-2 lead.
The two squads went after each other all night combining for 90 kills and 137 digs in the three-set affair. The Ragin' Cajuns were the more efficient attackers, out-hitting the Lions .289-.186 and holding a 50-40 advantage in kills.
Louisiana won the matchup between the two programs for the third straight season. The Cajuns evened their non-conference mark (7-7) finishing .500 or better outside the Sun Belt for the first time since 2014.
LEADING THE RAGIN' CAJUNS
Freshman Hali Wisnsoskie topped a balanced effort with 11 kills on 22 swings and a .455 hitting percentage. Stacey Reilly joined her in double digits with 10 kills, collecting her team leading 13th match with double digits.
Other contributors to the Ragin' Cajuns 50 kills (16.7 per set) included Hanna Rovira with nine kills, Nia Antoine with six and five from Chynna Brooks.
Libero Sydney Davis piled up 26 digs (8.67 per set) to top the back row efforts. Freshman Lexi Hebert reached double digits for the third straight match with 13 digs and also tallied a season-high five kills.
Setter Jessica Bartczyszyn dished out 42 of Louisiana's 50 assists and averaged double figures per set for the fifth time in the past six outings.
The Ragin' Cajuns continue a week-long series of matches against Louisiana schools over the weekend with a Sun Belt Conference home-and-home against ULM.
The pair of outings with the Warhawks starts Friday in Monroe with a 6:30 p.m. match inside Fant-Ewing Coliseum and finishes Sunday at 2 p.m. at EKL.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- Louisiana's first comeback started trailing 23-21 in the first set. A kill from Wisnoskie and block thrown up by Dree'Ana Abram and Reilly forged a tie, then a ball-handing error of SLU's Michelle Mirarchi put the Cajuns head 24-23.
The Lions got an equalizer off a kill by Elyssa Purcell to extend the frame. The Cajuns escaped set point at 26-25 after a missed SLU serve, then broke free from a 27-all tie and grabbed the lead for the final time on an Hebert kill.
- SLU used a 7-1 run to jump ahead 23-19 in the second set in an effort to even the match. A kill-ace-kill sequence drew the Cajuns within a point, 23-22.
The biggest block of the night would come with SLU leading 24-22. Rovira stuffed Savannah Alcazar, then the Cajuns forced the Lions into two more errors for a 25-24 lead. A kill from Chloee Holden kept the visitors alive, but kills from Antoine and Reilly sealed the set in Louisiana's favor.
- Louisiana's offense heated up to a .323 clip in the third set and ran away to complete the sweep. After Haley Baker missed a serve for SLU, evening the set at 2-all, the Cajuns capitalized. Reilly threw down a kill to start the first of 16 straight points off the serve of Breaux that left no doubt in the final outcome.
- Senior middle blocker Chynna Brooks celebrated her 22nd birthday on Tuesday. Brooks started the match and finished with five kills on just nine swings.
- Reigning Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Week Sydney Davis' 8.67 digs per set average marked her career-high for a match. She scooped 20-plus in a match for the fifth time this season and 16 times in her career.
- Sydney Davis' digs total pushed her over 300 for the 2017 season, marking the third time in her career she's reached the plateau (376 in 2015 as a freshman; 508 in 2016 as a sophomore; 320 as a junior in 2017).
- Senior Stacey Reilly moved her career kills total to 923, continuing her climb toward the 1,000 mark. Already with 1,000 career digs, she's seeking to become the first Cajun with a 1,000-1,000 career since Priscilla Lima (1999-02).
- Lexi Hebert has gathered 10-plus digs the past three matches and four times in five matches since Sun Belt play began. During the timeframe, she has averaged 3.58 digs per set.
- Setter Jessica Bartczyszyn upped her career assists total to 2,452, leaving her 48 shy of becoming the fourth setter in the rally era to reach 2,500 (others include Mandi Gavin, Kendra Hall and Andrea Hole).
- Hali Wisnoskie now has 180 kills on the season in her rookie campaign. She's 20 kills shy of becoming the first Ragin' Cajuns freshman with 200 kills in a season since fellow teammate Stacey Reilly in 2014.
- With a .289 team hitting percentage Tuesday night vs. Southeastern Louisiana, the Ragin' Cajuns have now hit above .200 in each match of the current six-match win streak.
- With the win, the Ragin' Cajuns increased their series win streak over Southeastern Louisiana to five matches, having lost only two sets during the streak, and upped the all-time advantage to 46-15. Louisiana improved to 5-1 vs. SLU in the Heather Mazeitis-Fontenot tenure, and defeated the Lions for the seventh time in the past nine meetings (2000-present).
- Each of the last five matchups with SLU at Earl K. Long Gym (1999, 2006, 2010, 2016, 2017) have been straight set sweeps in the Ragin' Cajuns' favor.
- Head coach Heather Mazeitis-Fontenot picked up her 130th win as Ragin' Cajuns head coach. She's now six (6) 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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