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Volleyball: Louisiana Collects Another Sun Belt Series Sweep, Closes in on Record Start
Ragin’ Cajuns 11th consecutive win to start the season stands alone as program’s second-best streak
MONROE – The Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns Volleyball team moved to 11-0, taking sole possession of the second-best start in program history, following a 3-0 (25-20, 25-21, 25-19) win over ULM in the finale of a two-match Sun Belt Conference series at Fant-Ewing Coliseum.
The 2020 edition of the Ragin' Cajuns now trail only the record 13 consecutive wins posted by the 1990 squad for the overall best start.
In a match where the defense on both sides pushed the opposing team's offense, it was Louisiana (11-0, 5-0 Sun Belt) that had the advantage in kills (33-27) and committed fewer errors which made the difference. The Ragin' Cajuns were able to overcome being held to a sub-.200 hitting percentage for the first time this season (.128).
Using a set-ending 15-6 run in the opening frame, the Ragin' Cajuns were able to erase a 14-10 deficit and prevent the Warhawks (1-7, 0-5 Sun Belt) from gaining early momentum. The comeback was sparked by a Kelsey Bennett kill, Hannah Ramirez ace and combined block from Kara Barnes and Taylor Gates that was part of a four-point run that forged a 15-all tie.
Barnes brought the Ragin' Cajuns back from an early deficit once again in the second set. Trailing 9-5 she generated three kills during a 7-2 run which put Louisiana ahead at 12-11. Back-and-forth play continued until a kill from Bennett and block from Barnes and Avery Breaux ignited a 4-0 run that extended the Louisiana lead to 22-17.
A heavy dose of Bennett and Barnes, who combined for five kills and a pair of blocks, carried the Ragin' Cajuns out to a 12-3 lead in the third set. The closest the Warhawks drew within the rest of the way was five points, and it came just prior to Louisiana registering match point.
LEADING THE RAGIN' CAJUNS
Bennett fired off a match-high 13 kills and was one dig shy of a fifth consecutive double-double. The junior outside hitter has scored double-digit kills in all five Sun Belt matches thus far.
Barnes had an impact both offensively and defensively, landing 12 kills off 25 swings on a .320 hitting percentage and throwing up a career-high six blocks.
Freshman Cami Hicks played a key role on the frontline with three blocks for the second straight outing. Breaux and Gates also had a hand in multiple blocks.
Ramirez rounded up 19 digs to extend her streak of consecutive matches with double figures to 23 straight dating back to last Oct. 11. She was one of six Ragin' Cajuns to scoop at least six digs, and gathered 13 digs alone in the match-clinching third stanza.
Breaux reached a personal milestone when the fifth of her match-leading 28 assists allowed her to reach 2,000 assists in her collegiate career.
The Ragin' Cajuns are scheduled to play their next eight matches at Earl K. Long Gym. The homestand begins Friday-Saturday, Oct. 9-10 with a key three-match Sun Belt series vs. No. 15 Texas State.
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