Volleyball: Mazeitis-Fontenot Sets Record, Cajuns Keep SBC West Lead
MOBILE, Ala. – Heather Mazeitis-Fontenot became the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns Volleyball program's all-time winningest coach on Friday, Nov. 3, 2017 in Mobile, Ala., following a 3-1 (24-26, 25-23, 25-22, 27-25) win over South Alabama.
Mazeitis-Fontenot picked up her 137th win as Ragin' Cajuns head coach, surpassing the previous record of 136 set by Wilo Colon from 1986-90.
The win also assured the Ragin' Cajuns (18-9, 11-2 Sun Belt) that they'd remain atop the Sun Belt Conference's West Division. With three league matches remaining the squad is the current leader in the race for the division's bye into the semifinal round of the upcoming Sun Belt Tournament (Nov. 16-19 in Jonesboro, Ark.).
After coming up short in an extra-point affair with the Jaguars (15-8, 10-3 Sun Belt) in the first set, Louisiana led the entirety of the second set in evening the match.
The team then showed grit and determination in rallying for wins in the next two sets. The Ragin' Cajuns ended the third frame with a 9-3 spurt to open a lead and then stormed back from a 15-8 deficit in the fourth set to claim the match.
Louisiana picked up its 11th Sun Belt Conference victory which equals the program record set by the 2000 team (11-5 mark).
LEADING THE RAGIN' CAJUNS Freshman Hali Wisnoskie recorded 17 kills on a .317 hitting percentage to lead the offense. She reached double digits for the fourth straight match and equaled her Sun Belt-play high total (17 at Little Rock).
Middle blockers Dree'Ana Abram and Nia Antoine each supplied nine kills. Abram had a match-high five blocks and the Ragin' Cajuns out-blocked the SBC's leader by an 11-5 count.
Right-side hitter Hanna Rovira also produced nine kills. She hit .207 over 29 swings, giving her a .200-plus percentage for the eighth time in SBC play.
UP NEXT The Ragin' Cajuns head northward on I-65 to Troy on Saturday to face the Trojans. The match begins at 6:30 p.m. from Trojan Arena on the Troy University campus. Live video will be available on WatchESPN.com.
HOW IT HAPPENED - The Jaguars' ability to hit above .300, finishing at .366, allowed them to keep the Ragin' Cajuns within their grasp the entire first set. When Louisiana did claim a lead, it was no larger than one point.
Trailing 22-21, USA used a kill from Kelley Hartman to avoid a two-point deficit. A Louisiana attack error put the Jaguars back in front and the hosts later closed the set with back-to-back kills from Iva Durdanovic in extra points.
- Louisiana wouldn't trail in the second set. The Ragin' Cajuns were the first to record consecutive points, ending back-and-forth play with a Reilly kill and Antoine block for a 6-4 edge. A pair of Wisnoskie kills and a Bartczyszyn block highlighted a 5-1 run that increased the visitors lead to 11-6.
The teams swapped sideouts and the Ragin' Cajuns maintained a four-point edge until USA cut the lead to 15-13 with consecutive Durdanovic kills. Three straight Jaguar miscues and an Antoine kill extended the lead to 19-13.
- After losing an early advantage (led 9-5), the Ragin' Cajuns stormed to the finish line in the third set to take their first lead. Louisiana closed with a 9-3 run, erasing a 19-16 deficit.
Antoine delivered two kills and was part of a block that brought the Ragin' Cajuns into a 19-all tie. A misplaced set by the Jaguars and Reilly kill opened an all-important two-point edge. Each time USA pulled within a point Louisiana secured a sideout, the last on a Wisnoskie kill for a 24-22 edge.
- Louisiana went into rally mode once again to finish the match in the fourth set. Using an 8-1 run midway through the frame the Ragin' Cajuns dug out of a 15-8 deficit and into a tie.
Twice the squad rallied from two-point deficits to set up the finish. Trailing 22-20, the defense forced the Jaguars into a pair of attack errors to draw even. Two kills from Hartman placed USA at set point, but Louisiana responded with tallies from Reilly and Wisnoskie to enforce extra points.
The Ragin' Cajuns gained the advantage twice in the extended portion of the set, the last at 26-25 off a Jaguars service error. On the next rally, Abram blocked an attack attempt Hartman for the winning score.
QUICK HITS - Louisiana improved to 5-1 on the opposition's home court in Sun Belt Conference play. The Ragin' Cajuns improved to 6-3 in road matches overall.
- The 11-5 advantage in blocks marked the 13th straight match in which Louisiana had at least an equal or higher amount than the opposing team.
- The Ragin' Cajuns are now 12-5 this season when a match is extended past the third set (9-3 in four-sets matches; 3-2 in five-set matches)
- Dree'Ana Abram's five blocks (1 BS, 4 BA) gives her 96 total (19 BS, 77 BA) for the 2017 season. Chanelle Gardner (106 in 2014) was the last Ragin' Cajun to eclipse 100 blocks in a season.
- Dree'Ana Abram has now thrown up at least four blocks on 15 occasions. She has had four-plus blocks in eight of 13 Sun Belt matches and leads the Ragin' Cajuns with 50 blocks in conference play.
- Jessica Bartczyszyn's 40 assists increased her season total to 998. She heads into Saturday's Troy match needing just two assists to reach 1,000 for the second straight season.
- With 24 digs, Sydney Davis eclipsed the 500-mark for the second consecutive season. She now has 505 digs which is only three shy of her personal career-high 508 collected as a sophomore in the 2016 season.
- Freshman Hali Wisnoskie produced double digits in kills for the eighth time in Sun Belt play and 15th time overall in her rookie campaign. Her 17 kills against South Alabama increased her collegiate debut tally to 280, which is the second-most recorded by a Ragin' Cajuns freshman in the rally scoring era (2001-present). She is on pace to join Amie Goodwin (340 in 2007) as the only two freshmen in the rally era to reach 300 kills.
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).