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Volleyball: Scale Tips in South Alabama’s Favor in Pressure-Packed Match with Louisiana
Match featured several twists and turns before the result was secured
LAFAYETTE – In a match where every swing made an impact on both sides it was South Alabama eventually outlasting Louisiana Volleyball and claiming a 3-1 (25-22, 19-25, 25-17, 31-29) win on Friday at Earl K. Long Gym.
The intense matchup between two of the Sun Belt's top squads saw a grand total of 45 tied scores and 16 lead changes before the Jaguars (16-6, 9-1 Sun Belt) could fend off the homestanding Ragin' Cajuns (11-7, 6-4 Sun Belt).
The firepower on both sides provided the feeling that the two teams could play into the night. Louisiana won the battle against South Alabama's league-leading defense with 57 kills on a .290 hitting percentage, but the visitors were slightly more efficient with 67 kills at a .308 clip.
The Ragin' Cajuns pushed the Jaguars vigorously in the fourth set in an attempt to set up a sprint to the finish in a potential fifth set. The final frame saw a total of 22 tied scores and a pair of lead changes during extra points.
A block thrown up by Siena DeCambra and Kara Barnes completed a 4-0 run by Louisiana that drew a 17-all tie and set up the tug-of-war until the final whistle. Neither team led by more than a single point the rest of the way.
Louisiana reached set point at 25-24 with a Kelsey Bennett block and again at 26-25 with a Coco Gillett kill, but the Jaguars answered back. The Ragin' Cajuns would fight off match point three times, the last on a Gillett kill for a 29-all tie.
South Alabama then regained the advantage after a service error and got the elusive match point on the next rally when Kennedy Wallace scored a kill.
USA picked up an early lead in the contest when the Ragin' Cajuns committed four miscues that led to a 22-21 lead evaporating in the opening set. Louisiana, though, stormed back to even the match by firing off 10 kills off only 19 swings and dialing up the intensity on defense in forcing USA into 10 attack errors.
A successful challenge in the third set temporarily swung momentum in Louisiana's favor, trimming the South Alabama lead to 10-9. However, the Jaguars reclaimed the momentum when three straight kills capped off a four-point spurt that created crucial separation at 14-9.
LEADING THE RAGIN' CAJUNS
The outsider hitter tandem of Gillett (18 kills) and Bennett (15 kills) fueled the offense with a combined 33 kills.
Louisiana out-blocked South Alabama by a 8-5 count with Barnes leading the charge by having a hand in four stuffs. Barnes also supplied nine kills off 15 swings and only one error for a .533 percentage.
Three Ragin' Cajuns finished with double figures in digs led by Jordan Valley rounding up 17 total while wearing the libero jersey. DeCambra posted 12 digs and Bennett scooped 11 resulting in both netting a double-double for the match.
DeCambra had a team-high 29 assists while Reka Kotorman passed out 18 helpers. Bennett had a hand in setting up her teammates for four kills.
Louisiana's third home weekend set of Sun Belt Conference action wraps up on Saturday (Oct. 23) when Troy (12-9, 5-5 Sun Belt) steps into Earl K. Long Gym.
The Ragin' Cajuns-Trojans matchup begins at 6 p.m.
A live stream is available on ESPN with Louisiana Sports Hall of Famer Dan McDonald providing play-by-play commentary and live stats can be accessed at CajunStats.com.
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