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Volleyball: Strong Finish Pushes Ragin' Cajuns Past UTEP
NEW ORLEANS – Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns Volleyball found its offensive rhythm after a setback in the opening set and rode the resurgence to a 3-1 (20-25, 25-17, 25-21, 25-16) win over UTEP Saturday morning in the Tulane I-10 Challenge at Devlin Fieldhouse.
Louisiana (2-0) averaged 15 kills per set and hit a .318 in collecting the three set victories which improved the team to 2-0 on season-opening weekend.
The Ragin' Cajuns finished the match with a decisive advantage in kills (56-43), digs (79-68), blocks (13-4) and hitting percentage (.245-.123).
It was a set-ending 8-0 run in the second stanza which energized the Ragin' Cajuns offense and evened the match. Louisiana continued to build momentum in the pivotal third set, hitting .375 and limiting the Miners to consecutive sideouts only once over the final 15 rallies to protect the lead.
With nearly twice as many kills (14-8) in the fourth set, the Ragin' Cajuns were able overwhelm the Miners for the match-clincher.
LEADING THE RAGIN' CAJUNS
Hali Wisnoskie topped the list of six Cajuns who produced at least six kills, turning in a match-high 15 kills. She added 10 digs to her stat line for her second career double-double (Sept. 2, 2017 vs. MVSU).
Nia Antoine continued strong start with 10 kills on just 17 swings. She reached double digit kills and hit above .500 for the second straight outing.
Hanna Rovira and Desiree Johnson, who each tallied eight kills, provided timely production from the right side. Johnson joined Dree'Ana Abram in match-high honors with seven blocks.
Milayne Danna (21 assists) and Avery Breaux (19 assists) combined for 40 assists. The setter combo also led the charge defensively, with Breaux collecting a match-high 17 digs and Danna contributing 14 digs.
Libero Sydney Davis posted her 19th straight match of double digit digs (14). Her first scoop of the contest was the 1,500th dig of her career.
Louisiana concludes play in the Tulane I-10 Challenge on Saturday at 7 p.m. facing the host-Green Wave inside Devlin Fieldhouse. Fans can access links for live stats and live video (purchase required) at RaginCajuns.com/VBschedule.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- UTEP took advantage of Louisiana's slow start and .068 hitting percentage in the first set to enter the win column first. The Ragin' Cajuns, who trailed 12-5 early on, drew within a point late (20-19) but a series of four attack errors halted the comeback.
- After seeing an 8-5 lead disappear in the second set, Louisiana set the stage for the late push with Wisnoskie landing a kill and teaming for a block during a mini-run that forged a 15-all tie. She later snapped the final tie and scored the first of six kills the Cajuns collected in closing out the frame.
- A 76-percent sideout rate for the Cajuns in the third set played in their favor as after a 10-9 lead the Miners wouldn't collect successive sideouts for 23 consecutive rallies. Starting with a Wisnoskie kill at 12-all, Louisiana remained one step ahead of UTEP getting the final push when Johnson followed up a service error with a kill for a 22-18 advantage.
- Louisiana picked up six kills in its first 10 swings of the fourth set and was off to an 8-4 lead. A pair of aces from Abram were key to a four-point spurt that had the Cajuns doubling up the Miners at 16-8. The lead was comfortable the remainder of the frame as the closest UTEP would reach was six points.
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