Four Louisiana Volleyball Standouts Bestowed All-Sun Belt Honors
Group highlighted by Hali Wisnoskie who earns a fourth consecutive all-conference award
LAFAYETTE – Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns Volleyball received a program-record tying four all-conference selections on the 2020 All-Sun Belt Conference Volleyball team which was announced by the league office on Tuesday. Seniors Hali Wisnoskie and Avery Breaux represented Louisiana on the All-Sun Belt First Team, and junior Kelsey Bennett and sophomore Kara Barnes were second team selections. The four All-SBC selections match the record amount first established by the 2017 team. It's the fourth consecutive season Louisiana placed multiple honorees on the All-Sun Belt Team – its longest stretch as a member of the league. With a fourth consecutive All-Sun Belt honor – and the third first team distinction of her career – Wisnoskie solidified her place as one of the all-time great Ragin' Cajuns. The Columbus, Texas native joins UL Athletics Hall of Famer Nia Kiggundu as the only four-time all-conference selections in the 45-year history of Louisiana Volleyball (1976-present). Breaux, who earned repeat All-Sun Belt honors and rose to first team status, becomes the first setter guided by Heather Mazeitis-Fontenot, and in Sun Belt era, to earn multiple all-conference awards. For both Bennett and Barnes, the nod to the 2020 All-SBC team marked their first career all-conference accolades. The total number of All-Sun Belt selections in Mazeitis-Fontenot's tenure increased to 16, while the program's all-time total grew to 28. Earning first team status in their senior season is a fitting testament to Wisnoskie and Breaux who over the past four seasons helped lead Louisiana to a 67-49 overall record and a four-year stretch record 41 Sun Belt triumphs.
Wisnoskie was the nation's leader in total kills during regular season play, her 302 kills marking a fourth consecutive 300-kills season. At a career-best rate of 3.9 kills per set she reached 300 kills in only 78 sets – the quickest pace in her career to the mark (previous best was 99 sets in 2019). In earning repeat first team honors, Louisiana's rally scoring era career kills record holder delivered nine matches of four-plus kills per set, scored at least 15 kills in 11 matches and landed at least 30 kills in every three-match Sun Belt series, highlighted by 57 kills (5.2 per set) at Little Rock and 49 kills (3.8 per set) at UTA. Following the conclusion of the Sun Belt Tournament, she wound up closing the fall with six consecutive matches of double-digit kills increasing her season total to 18 and career total to 74. Wisnoskie closed the season as only the third player in the 45-year history of the program to reach 1,300 career kills. Breaux averaged a career-best 11.4 assists per set en route to finishing the regular season with a nation-leading 887 assists. She passed out 10-plus assists per set in 18 of the 22 matches she competed in, had a team-high tying 11 double-doubles in the regular season, and guided the Ragin' Cajuns offense to 13.9 kills per set which marked the highest average since 2002.
The two-time Sun Belt Setter of the Week averaged 10-plus assists per set throughout the series in five of the six Sun Belt weekend sets. She eclipsed 2,000 career assists and 1,000 career digs, making her one of only two active setters in the nation with the distinction. A second consecutive 200-200 season of kills and digs, accomplished by averaging career-bests of 3.2 kills and digs per set, warranted an All-Sun Belt honor for Bennett. The Allen, Texas product led Louisiana with 13 double-doubles, all but one occurring against Sun Belt Conference opponents. Bennett generated at least 30 kills in three of the four three-match Sun Belt series, highlighted by 52 kills at UTA and 48 kills at Little Rock, and in SBC play reached double digits in kills in all but four of the 16 matches played. Barnes was Louisiana's top threat from the middle blocker position and ranked Top 10 in the Sun Belt with a .311 hitting percentage during the regular season. She carried a .300-plus hitting percentage throughout the entire season and turned in 12 matches with a .300-plus hitting percentage off double-digit attack attempts. The Rowlett, Texas product had a breakout season on the frontline with a team-leading 71 blocks – seven times more than her freshman campaign. Barnes totaled 200 kills on just 425 attack attempts and seven times produced double-digit kills on 30 or fewer attack attempts. Coastal Carolina's Annett Nemeth was named Sun Belt Player of the Year and Offensive Player of the Year. UT Arlington's Alli Wells was selected as the Defensive Player of the Year, Texas State's Emily DeWalt picked up Setter of the Year, South Alabama's Rebecca Walk was awarded Freshman of the Year and Little Rock's Leigh Maher was chosen Newcomer of the Year. Coach of the Year honors went to Coastal Carolina's Jozsef Forman. The 2020 All-Sun Belt postseason awards were voted on by the league's 12 head coaches. All-Sun Belt First Team Laura Jansen, Little Rock Madison Brown, Arkansas State Ani Bozdeva, Coastal Carolina Anett Nemeth, Coastal Carolina Brigitta Petrenko, Coastal Carolina Avery Breaux, Louisiana Hali Wisnoskie, Louisiana Alli Wells, UTA Emily DeWalt, Texas State Janell Fitzgerald, Texas State Tyeranee Scott, Texas State Amara Anderson, Troy All-Sun Belt Second Team Leigh Maher, Little Rock Kendahl Davenport, Arkansas State Lina Perugini, Coastal Carolina Mya Wilson, Georgia Southern Kara Barnes, Louisiana Kelsey Bennett, Louisiana Rebecca Walk, South Alabama Briana Brown, UTA Brianna Ford, UTA Brooke Townsend, UTA Lauren Teske, Texas State Cheyenne Hayes, Troy Player of the Year Anett Nemeth, Coastal Carolina Offensive Player of the Year Anett Nemeth, Coastal Carolina Defensive Player of the Year Alli Wells, UTA Setter of the Year Emily DeWalt, Texas State Freshman of the Year Rebecca Walk, South Alabama Newcomer of the Year Leigh Maher, Little Rock Coach of the Year Jozsef Forman, Coastal Carolina ABOUT LOUISIANA The 2020 edition of the Ragin' Cajuns recorded the second-best start in program history, opening the season with an 11-0 mark. It resulted in the program's first-ever national ranking with Louisiana landing at No. 15 in the AVCA rankings on Oct. 14. Louisiana finished 11-5 in Sun Belt Conference matches marking a second straight season with double-digit conference victories, the first such occurrence in program history. Led by outside hitters Hali Wisnoskie and Kelsey Bennett, who combined averaged 7.0-plus kills per set, the Ragin' Cajuns averaged 13.9 kills per set in the regular season – the highest mark since 2002. FOLLOW THE RAGIN' CAJUNS Follow the Ragin' Cajuns on Twitter (@RaginCajunsVB), Facebook (/RaginCajunsVB) or Instagram (@RaginCajunsVB) to stay up-to-date on all that is happening with Louisiana Volleyball.