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Volleyball: Cajuns Rally Withstood by Red Wolves in Jonesboro
JONESBORO, Ark. – Arkansas State claimed the Sun Belt Conference rematch with the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns Volleyball team by a 3-1 (25-15, 25-21, 21-25, 25-22) count on Sunday at the Convocation Center.
Louisiana (14-8, 7-1 Sun Belt) had a nine-match win streak snapped, falling for the first time since Sept. 15 vs. Wright State. The Ragin' Cajuns, though, remain in first place in the Sun Belt's West Division.
The Red Wolves (13-9, 6-3 Sun Belt) were able to keep the Ragin' Cajuns out of rhythm, forcing them into a SBC play low hitting percentage of .082, and tallied double digit kills each set on the way to a 60-36 edge for the match.
Louisiana and ASU split the season series. The Ragin' Cajuns entered the day with a five-set triumph at Earl K. Long Gym (Sept. 29) in hand.
Leading from start to finish in the third set – behind a match-best .200 hitting percentage – the Ragin' Cajuns were able to extend the match. The two teams swapped the lead four times and there were seven ties in the fourth set, as Louisiana battled to extend the contest further. ASU avoided a potential decisive fifth frame by landing back-to-back kills after a Nia Antoine and Hanna Rovira block cut the hosts lead to 23-22.
LEADING THE RAGIN' CAJUNS
Freshman Hali Wisnoskie's nine kills led the five Ragin' Cajuns who registered at least five kills. Stacey Reilly and Dree'Ana Abram each scored seven kills in helping shoulder the offensive production.
Louisiana's defense stayed strong both at the net and on the back row. Jessica Bartczyszyn had a match-high three block solos in leading Louisiana to seven total. Libero Sydney Davis scooped a match-high 28 digs, reaching 20-plus for the fourth time in SBC action.
The Ragin' Cajuns return to Earl K. Long Gym to open the final homestand of the 2017 season. Louisiana hosts Appalachian State in the Dig Pink Match on Friday, Oct. 20 and Coastal Carolina on Saturday, Oct. 21 for Girl Scout Night. First serve for both matches is set for 6:30 p.m.
The matches with the Mountaineers and Chanticleers are the first of four on the homestand that wraps up the following week against UTA (Oct. 26) and Texas State (Oct. 28).
HOW IT HAPPENED
- The Red Wolves reeled off six consecutive points to dig out of an early deficit and grab a 10-6 lead in the first set. ASU fended off Louisiana's last advance, using kills from Kenzie Fields and Timber Terrell, followed by a block from the duo, to extend the lead to 15-9.
- The two teams swapped lead changes early in the second set, ASU rallying from a 7-4 deficit with four straight kills to take the lead and Louisiana getting a Rovira block and Reilly kill to pull even at 15-all before a Red Wolves error gave the visitors a 16-15 lead.
The Red Wolves jumped back into the lead with three straight kills, but the Cajuns crept back within one, 19-18, on a Nia Antoine kill. Fields threw down a kill to keep ASU ahead and Drew Jones served up for straight points to send ASU on the way to a 2-0 lead.
- Louisiana won the first five rallies of the third set, capped off by back-to-back kills from Wisnoskie, and never looked back. The Ragin' Cajuns led by as many as nine points on three occasions, and withstood a late push by the hosts which cut their lead to 22-19. Bartczyszyn dumped a kill over the net and an ASU attack error placed Louisiana at set point.
- The fourth set hung in the balance in the latter stages, starting when a Fields attack error sliced the Red Wolves lead to 19-18. The teams swapped sideouts through 23-22, the last coming after Antoine and Rovira's block.
The Red Wolves won the serve back after Jones' 17th kill of the match, then fended off an overpass attack from Antoine and registered match point when Peyton Uhlenhake notched a kill.
- Stacey Reilly continued her march toward 1,000 career kills, adding seven more to her career tally which now stands at 965.
- Nia Antoine moved within eight kills of reaching the 500-plateau for her career. She enters next week's action with 492 career kills.
- With her match-high 28 digs, Sydney Davis pushed her over 400 for the season (410 actual). It's the second time in her career surpassing 400 (508 in 2016).
- Freshman Hali Wisnoskie increased her season kills total to 222 which marks the ninth-most recorded by a Ragin' Cajuns freshman in the rally scoring era (2001-present). Wisnoskie is the first freshman to reach 200 since fellow teammate Stacey Reilly did so in 2014.
- Setter Jessica Bartczyszyn added 14 digs to her 26 assists marked her fifth double-double of the season. The Ragin' Cajuns setter tallied a double-double in both outings against Arkansas State this season (54 assists, 12 digs on Sept. 29 at E.K. Long Gym).
- Arkansas State's win in the first set marked the first time in 10 matches that the Ragin' Cajuns did not open a match with a 1-0 lead.
- Louisiana held an 11-8 edge in blocks, marking the eighth straight match the squad out-blocked the opposition. The Ragin' Cajuns have held the advantage in blocks in seven of the eight SBC matches.
- The Ragin' Cajuns increased their season blocks total to 189, putting the team on the verge of the first season of 200-plus blocks since 2014 (253).
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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