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Volleyball: Cajuns Control All Phases of Match in Sweep of UTA - Senior Day Saturday
LAFAYETTE – Charged by an efficient offensive attack and a stout blocking presence the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns Volleyball team posted a straight sets sweep (25-22, 25-14, 25-18) of UTA on Thursday at Earl K. Long Gym.
The Ragin' Cajuns (16-9, 9-2 Sun Belt) hit .310 for the match and garnered 39 kills off just 87 swings. The squad threw up nine blocks, with five coming in the key second set triumph that put the Mavericks (10-13, 4-6 Sun Belt) in a hole.
Louisiana used a 15-10 edge in kills to jump ahead of UTA after the first set. The Ragin' Cajuns would play with the lead for the remainder of the match in convincing wins in the second and third set. A string of three straight blocks capped off a 5-0 set-opening run in the second frame, then the Ragin' Cajuns took control of the third set by landing five kills during a 7-1 run that opened a 12-4 lead.
Louisiana kept pace with Texas State (18-7, 9-1 Sun Belt), which swept ULM, for the top spot in the Sun Belt West division. The two teams meet on Saturday at Earl K. Long Gym.
With the win, the Ragin' Cajuns locked up a winning record in Sun Belt Conference play for the first time since 2002.
LEADING THE RAGIN' CAJUNS
Freshman Hali Wisnoskie tallied a team-high 10 kills on a .269 hitting percentage, her sixth match in double digits in Sun Belt play and 13th overall. Fellow outside hitter Stacey Reilly produced nine kills off a .250 hitting percentage which moved her career kills total to 995.
Hanna Rovira and Dree'Ana Abram both supplied seven kills and were the catalysts in the Ragin' Cajuns blocking numbers. Rovira led the way with a career-high seven blocks (3 BS, 4 BA) while Abram finished with five (0 BS, 5 BA).
Senior setter Jessica Bartczyszyn handed out 31 assists, giving her over 10 per set in an SBC match for the sixth time. Libero Sydney Davis scooped a match-high 12 digs.
Louisiana plays its 2017 season home finale on Saturday against Texas State. First serve is set for 6:30 p.m.
The match will be the final outing at Earl K. Long Gym in the collegiate career of the senior class which includes: Jessica Bartczyszyn, Chynna Brooks, Chloe Cordell and Stacey Reilly.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- The Ragin' Cajuns and Mavericks battled through nine ties and four lead changes in the first set. After the final tie (14-14) was snapped on an attack error by UTA's Kylie Jedlicka, an ace from Avery Breaux gave Louisiana the separation it needed to remain ahead the remainder of the frame.
Kills from Reilly, Wisnoskie and Abram in succession opened a 21-17 lead, then each time the Mavs pulled within a point the Ragin' Cajuns had an answer. Up 21-20, an Abram kill and Rovira block kept the visitors behind, then it was an Abram kill that fended off another UTA advance at 23-22.
- Louisiana raced off to a 7-1 start in the second set without attempting a swing as the squad threw up three blocks and forced UTA into three additional attack errors. The closest the Mavericks would get was five points, 13-8, and the Ragin' Cajuns responded with Wisnoskie kill and Bartczyszyn ace to extend the lead back out.
- Two UTA errors to open the third set provided the Ragin' Cajuns the lead. Leading 7-4, Louisiana won the serve back following a kill by Nia Antoine. Davis then served up four straight points – off three kills and an ace – to open an eight-point advantage at 12-4. The Ragin' Cajuns were comfortably ahead by eight points or more until a 4-0 spurt by the visitors trimmed the lead to 24-18.
- Head coach Heather Mazeitis-Fontenot picked up her 135th win as Ragin' Cajuns head coach, moving her within one win of tying Wilo Colon's program-record 136 wins set from 1986-90.
- Louisiana had an equal or higher amount of blocks than the opposition for the 11th consecutive match. The Ragin' Cajuns hold a 105-72 advantage in blocks over foes in Sun Belt Conference play.
- Senior outside hitter Stacey Reilly heads into her final career match at Earl K. Long Gym on Saturday needing only five kills to reach 1,000 in her career. She would join former teammate Chanelle Gardner as the only two Ragin' Cajuns to play an entire career in the rally scoring era (2001-present) and reach the mark.
- Not only is Stacey Reilly within reach of her 1,000th career when Louisiana takes the court on Saturday vs. Texas State, but she is set to surpass Chanelle Gardner (1,000 kills) as the Ragin' Cajuns career leader in the rally scoring era.
- For the third time in the past six Sun Belt outings, Hanna Rovira landed seven kills on a .500 hitting percentage. Since taking over at right side hitter on Sept. 23 at Georgia State, she is hitting .241 (68 K, 19 E, 203 TA).
- Dree'Ana Abram's five blocks marked the 13th time she's posted at least four in a match this season. She increased her season total to 87 as she seeks to become the first Ragin' Cajun to reach 100 blocks since Chanelle Gardner had 106 in 2014.
- Setter Jessica Bartczyszyn pushed her season assists total over 900 (current total is 909) as she aims to post back-to-back seasons of 1,000 assists.
- The Ragin' Cajuns improved to 17-8 in the first set. The team has won each of the last 12 matches in which they were victorious in the opening stanza.
- Louisiana improved to 10-3 at Earl K. Long Gym, reaching double digits in facility for the first time since 2014 (11-4). The Ragin' Cajuns record at E.K. Long Gym under the guidance of Heather Mazeitis-Fontenot improved to 68-54 (.557).
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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