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Volleyball: Fourth-Set Rebound Allows Louisiana Volleyball to Put Away Georgia State
Quick response allows Ragin’ Cajuns to regain control of the contest
LAFAYETTE – A change of momentum early in the fourth set resulted in Louisiana Volleyball bypassing a winner-take-all scenario and claiming a 3-1 (25-21, 25-19, 23-25, 29-27) win over Georgia State in the team's Sun Belt Conference opener on Friday at Earl K. Long Gym.
With Louisiana trailing 8-3 just moments after GSU extended the match, Coco Gillett used a kill to spark a 9-0 run – in which she served up eight consecutive points – to turn the tide in the home team's favor and open a 12-8 lead.
The Ragin' Cajuns (6-3, 1-0 Sun Belt) wouldn't trail the remainder of the fourth set in preventing the Panthers (3-8, 0-2 Sun Belt) from further extending the match. However, a late push by the visitors, who crawled back into a 24-all tie, forced Louisiana to work through four match points before closing the deal.
Gillett broke the final tie of the night with a kill for a 28-27 lead, then it was the block of Kara Barnes and Siena Decambra that halted the journey into extra points.
Louisiana was able to lay claim to a commanding 2-0 match lead by controlling the early stages of the first two sets, leading 12-8 in the opener and 11-5 in the second stanza, before fending off a comeback attempt by Georgia State.
A no-touch call confirmed in favor of the Ragin' Cajuns at 21-20 in the first set led to a favorable ending. In the second set, Gillett worked her magic with a kill followed by an ace that jumpstarted a 4-0 run to pull away after GSU crept within a pair at 21-19.
The Ragin' Cajuns posted a .200-plus hitting percentage for the eighth time in nine matches (57 K, 20 E, 157 TA, .236) and scored an average of 14-plus kills per set.
The win marked a successful Sun Belt Conference debut for head coach Kristi Gray and moved Louisiana to 2-0 on its current three-match homestand which concludes on Saturday (Sept. 25) with a 6 p.m. match against Georgia Southern.
LEADING THE RAGIN' CAJUNS
Gillett was Louisiana's leader on offense with her new season-high of 19 kills. It was her fourth straight match in double digits and surpassed her previous best of 14 kills vs. USC Upstate (Aug. 27) and Lamar (Sept. 21).
By adding 13 digs to her stat line, Gillett captured her first double-double in a Ragin' Cajuns uniform.
Kelsey Bennett was the other Ragin' Cajun with double-digit kills, finishing with 12 kills on a .357 hitting percentage. Barnes and Chinelo Ogogor both provided timely kills, tallying eight apiece. In the fourth set, Ogogor slid over to the right side for a pair of kills that kept the Panthers at arm's length (15-11 and 21-17).
The defense was led by five blocks from Cami Hicks and a match-high 24 digs rounded up by Hannah Ramirez.
DeCambra and Reka Kotorman guided the offense with 27 assists and 16 assists, respectively, and also combined for 19 digs.
Sun Belt Opening Weekend and the season's first homestand concludes on Saturday (Sept. 25) when Louisiana hosts Georgia Southern at Earl K. Long Gym. First serve is scheduled for 6 p.m.
A live stream is available on ESPN with Louisiana Sports Hall of Famer Dan McDonald providing play-by-play commentary. Live stats can be accessed at CajunStats.com.
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