Volleyball: Comeback Trail Lands Louisiana a Five-Set Win over Arkansas State
Ragin’ Cajuns start second round of Sun Belt West play claiming a thriller in Jonesboro
JONESBORO, Ark.– Twice rallying from a 9-3 deficit in the match was instrumental in Louisiana Volleyball securing a 3-2 victory (25-21, 10-25, 25-22, 19-25, 15-13) over Arkansas State on Thursday night at First National Bank Arena. The latter occurrence came in the decisive fifth set allowing the Ragin' Cajuns (12-8, 7-5 Sun Belt) to turn the tables on the Red Wolves (13-11, 4-8 Sun Belt) leading to the win that snapped a four-match losing streak. Out of its second timeout of the final stanza, Louisiana promptly reeled off six unanswered points to draw even at 9-all and set up the race to the finish line. Moments later, after swapping two-point mini-runs it was still a toss-up knotted at 12-12. ASU blinked first with an attack attempt hitting the antenna to give the Ragin' Cajuns a 13-12 edge. Emery Judkins gave Louisiana a crucial two-point lead when she followed with a kill, then after the Red Wolves picked up a side out it was Coco Gillett landing the all-important 15th point. With the win the Ragin' Cajuns picked up the season sweep of the Red Wolves and remained undefeated (6-0) against Sun Belt West Division foes. It also assured Louisiana of maintaining its hold on second place in the division – key to a first round bye in the SBC Tournament – and keeps the squad in contention for the division title. Louisiana's success was made possible by pulling off the first comeback from a 9-3 deficit when the match lead was up for grabs in the third set. A huge 10-0 run during the process vaulted the Ragin' Cajuns into a 14-10 lead. A string of four consecutive points later increased the lead to 18-12 before ASU rallied within a point at 21-20. That's when Kelsey Bennett stepped up with a timely kill to preserve the lead, then Gillett followed up with a kill to keep the Red Wolves at arm's length. Both teams used their defense to create the back-and-forth flow of the match as each side saw at least five players collect five or more digs. There were a total of 165 digs with ASU holding a slight 83-82 edge. The service line proved to be the slightest difference with the Red Wolves committing 13 costly miscues. The two most critical ones came with Louisiana leading 23-22 in the third set and at 12-11 in the fifth after a Macey Putt kill provided a lead. LEADING THE RAGIN' CAJUNS Bennett recorded a 20-20 double-double of 23 kills and 21 digs, leading Louisiana in both categories. The offensive production pushed her past 300 kills in a single season for the first time in her career (now up to 314). Gillett was the other sparkplug for the Ragin' Cajuns as she scored 14 kills and rounded up 19 digs. The Bennett-Gillett combo pulled Louisiana over the finish line in the fifth set combining for seven kills off of 21 swings. Judkins, who preserved the lead late in the fifth set, landed eight kills off of her Sun Belt-play high of 32 swings. SetterSiena DeCambracollected her 10th double-double of the season by passing out 40 assists and rounding up 10 digs. Jordan Valleytied her Sun Belt-play high of 17 digs and served up a pair of aces. UP NEXT Louisiana completes the road portion of its 2021 season schedule on Saturday, Oct. 30 in Little Rock during a 6:15 p.m. match against the Trojans at the Jack Stephens Center. The contest can be viewed on ESPN and live stats are available at CajunStats.com. 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.