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Volleyball: Late Rallies Fall Just Short for Louisiana in 2020 Regular Season Finale
Ragin’ Cajuns bid for series sweep thwarted by key sideouts for UT Arlington in final two sets
ARLINGTON, Texas – UT Arlington was able to fend off a pair of late set rallies from the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns Volleyball team in the final two stanzas and that marked the difference in a 3-1 (25-20, 18-25, 25-21, 25-21) win for the Mavericks on Saturday afternoon at the College Park Center.
Louisiana (17-5, 11-5 Sun Belt) produced more offense than UTA (9-5, 9-5 Sun Belt) for the third straight match holding a 61-56 advantage in kills. However, this time the squad was unable to overcome its miscues committing 26 attack errors compared to 19 for the Mavericks.
The hosts were able to storm back from an 11-4 deficit in the first set largely in part to connecting for 15 kills on a .275 hitting percentage.
It was the Ragin' Cajuns dialing up the offense in the second set to even the match, notching 17 kills on a .265 hitting percentage. A dump kill from Avery Breaux ignited a 7-0 run late in the frame that stretched out the lead to 23-13. Three straight kills – one from Kelsey Bennett and back-to-back from Hali Wisnoskie – capped off the scoring spree that put the Mavericks away.
UTA got a head start on the race to breaking the match tie by opening a 9-2 lead in the third set. The Ragin' Cajuns battled back with Breaux getting another kill to start the final push, a 4-0 run that trimmed the deficit to 19-18. The Mavericks would get a timely sideout to maintain their lead, then subsequent sideouts came in response to Louisiana pulling within a point over the next four rallies.
There were 14 ties and four lead changes while Louisiana attempted to extend the match before UTA gained just enough separation following a pair of Ragin' Cajuns attack errors that gave the Mavericks a lead, at 20-18, that stood for good.
LEADING THE RAGIN' CAJUNS
Wisnoskie and Bennett took the bulk of the Ragin' Cajuns swings and the result was each one scoring 15 kills.
The production pushed Wisnoskie's season total to 302 kills marking her fourth straight 300-kills season. For Bennett, it was a third straight match reaching 15 kills which pushed her weekend series total to a team-leading 52 kills.
Lauren Tishkoff landed 11 kills and Cami Hicks produced 10 kills giving Louisiana four players with double figures. Tishkoff came alive in the fourth set, scoring five kills off of only nine swings. Hicks' total came off 17 error-free swings and a season-high .588 hitting percentage.
The dig totals piled up on both sides once again with each team garnering 96 digs. The Ragin' Cajuns were led by 24 digs from libero Hannah Ramirez and a career-high 22 digs from Milayne Danna. Ramirez has reached double digits every match this season and in 34 consecutive matches dating back to last Oct. 11.
With 16 digs to her credit Bennett posted a double-double for the third straight match and a team-high tying 11th time this season. Wisnoskie rounded up 14 digs to give her a third consecutive double-double as well.
Breaux scored three kills for the third time in as many outings over the weekend. She was the third Ragin' Cajun with a third consecutive double-double finishing with 49 assists and 12 digs. The senior setter averaged 10-plus assists per set for the 19th time in 22 outings and totaled 40-plus assists for the 11th time.
The Ragin' Cajuns take a week-long break from competition before traveling to Foley, Ala., for the 2020 Sun Belt Conference Tournament being held at the Foley Sports Tourism Complex from Wednesday, Nov. 18-Sunday, Nov. 22.
All 12 conference teams will be competing beginning with pool play on Wednesday, Nov. 18 followed by a four-team knockout round bracket which starts on Saturday, Nov. 21. The tournament championship match is set for Sunday, Nov. 22 at 1 p.m.
The official announcement of pool assignments for each team, and the corresponding schedule of matches, will be made after the completion of regular season play on Saturday, Nov. 14.
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