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Volleyball: Taylor Gates Claims Third Consecutive Sun Belt Player of the Week Award
Represents Louisiana as Sun Belt Freshman of the Week after strong conference debut
LAFAYETTE – Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns Volleyball right side hitter Taylor Gates remains the lone recipient of the Sun Belt Conference's Freshman of the Week award in the 2020 season after receiving the honor for the third consecutive week on Tuesday.
During Louisiana's Sun Belt-opening series at Little Rock Sept. 25-26, Gates increased her offensive production from the previous week once again and totaled 20 kills in a single weekend for the first time in her collegiate career.
She scored exactly 20 kills (2.86 per set) on a .250 hitting percentage as the Ragin' Cajuns (9-0, 3-0 Sun Belt) posted a three-match sweep of Little Rock and kept the undefeated start to the 2020 season intact.
The bulk of the production came in only two matches of extensive action, starting with a new season high total of 10 kills off 21 swings in the nightcap on Friday followed by nine kills in the series finale.
Gates helped set the tone for the straight sets sweep of the series finale, landing eight kills off of 12 error-free swings over the first two sets as Louisiana laid claim to a commanding 2-0 match advantage.
The Kansas City area native also registered three aces, had a pair of four-dig efforts and had a hand in at least one block throughout the series.
Now a three-time SBC Freshman of the Week award winner, Gates has matched fellow teammate Hali Wisnoskie, who received the award three times in 2017, for the program record.
It's the sixth SBC weekly award of the 2020 season for the Ragin' Cajuns. Hannah Ramirez claimed defensive player of the week honors following the season-opening weekend, then Gates along with Wisnoskie (offense) and Avery Breaux (setter) were honored after the South Alabama series, followed by Gates' latest two awards.
The six SBC weekly awards establish a new program record for Louisiana, surpassing the previous mark of five collected in 2002 and 2017.
Gates and her teammates return to the road this weekend, traveling to Monroe, La., for a two-match series with ULM set for Friday-Saturday, Oct. 2-3 at Fant-Ewing Coliseum. The Ragin' Cajuns and Warhawks are scheduled to meet at 6 p.m. on Friday and 1 p.m. on Saturday.
While in Monroe, Louisiana seeks to extend the third-best start in program history. The nine consecutive matches won to start 2020 season is surpassed only by the 2014 team which won its first 10 matches and the 1990 team which won a record 13 consecutive to start the season.
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