Nov 11, 2012 11:16 PM by UL Sports Information
LAFAYETTE - Following Friday's Sun Belt Conference action the Ragin' Cajuns volleyball team discovered they had collected the program's ninth Sun Belt Tournament appearance.
After the league's regular season finished on Sunday, the Ragin' Cajuns learned they were awarded the No. 7 seed for the annual postseason event.
Louisiana (16-15, 6-8 Sun Belt), making an appearance in the SBC Tournament for the second time in the past three seasons, will meet No. 2 seed Troy (20-11) at Noon on Thursday, Nov. 15 at E.A. Diddle Arena on the Western Kentucky University campus in Bowling Green, Ky.
Head coach Heather Mazeitis-Fontenot is the first coach to lead the Ragin' Cajuns to multiple Sun Belt Tournaments since Chris Campbell made three straight appearances from 1999-2001.
In 2010, her third season at the helm, Mazeitis-Fontenot led UL to the event held in Murfreesboro, Tenn.
A new tiebreaker rule implemented this season resulted in a three-way tie with Middle Tennessee and FIU, ultimately landing the Cajuns the No. 7 seed. Based on rule 7.1.1 which states:
"In years which each division plays a different number of conference matches, all teams will first be seeded based on winning percentage. From there, the teams shall be considered tied if either is true: 7.1.1.b. "If ‘stacked teams from opposite divisions' have either the same number of wins or losses. This clause will be enforced following the general tiebreaking procedures of working through from top to bottom. Teams with the same total number of matches may only be tied if they have identical winning percentages."
MT (10-20, 7-8 SBC) earned the sixth seed after beating out Louisiana and FIU in a three-way tiebreak on Rule 7.1.1, as stated above. All three teams - from opposite divisions - recorded eight conference losses, and the Blue Raiders held the best record (3-0) among the teams in the tiebreak.
Louisiana then grabbed the seventh seed after owning the head-to-head tiebreak over FIU (10-18, 7-8 Sun Belt). With MT, the top team in the tiebreak and removed from the picture, the Cajuns held the advantage over the Panthers due to a 3-1 (25-13, 12-25, 25-17, 25-19) victory in their regular season meeting on Oct. 5.
Mazeitis-Fontenot and her team are in search of the UL volleyball program's first SBC Tournament victory since the 2001 event in Denver that saw Chris Campbell's squad defeat UALR 3-1 (30-23, 26-30, 30-27, 30-17) on Nov. 15, 2001.
Louisiana is 4-9 all-time in the SBC Tournament with appearances in 1991, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2010. UL seeks to break a three-match losing streak in the event (2001 vs. WKU in semis, 2002 vs. UALR in quarterfinals and 2010 vs. WKU in quarterfinals).
The Cajuns claimed this season's lone meeting with Troy back on Saturday, Oct. 20. UL took a 9:30 a.m., match at Satrtain hall in Troy, Ala., by a 3-1 (25-22, 21-25, 25-23, 26-24) count. Mandi Gavin passed out 53 assists and 12 total digs for her then-seventh double-double and fellow senior Blair Claypoole landed a team-best 13 kills.
UL enters the Sun Belt Tournament coming off a straight sets sweep of UNO in the regular season finale on Wednesday. The Cajuns used a 43-19 advantage in kills and limited the Privateers to a .021 hitting percentage to bring an end to a three-match losing streak. Louisiana had a balanced attack with three hitters posting eight or more kills led by Lavinia Tataran's team-best 11 kills and .259 hitting percentage.
The 2012 Sun Belt Conference Volleyball Championship is slated for Nov. 15-17, at E.A. Diddle Arena in Bowling Green, Ky. The semifinals will be held Friday, Nov. 16 at 4 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. with the championship match starting at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 17. The championship match will available nationally on ESPN3.
The winner of the tournament earns the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. All matches will be streamed for free on www.sunbeltsports.org.
SET POINTS: The Cajuns' 47 wins dating back to 2010 mark the best three-year stretch of victories since 48 wins were recorded from 1997-99...Louisiana is one win shy of securing a winning record for the second time in the past three seasons (went 17-16 in 2010)...The Cajuns offense features five attackers with 200-plus kills led by Lavinia Tataran's 308....Joining Tataran above 200 kills is Blair Claypoole (273), Kelly Wiesmann (236), Andrea Hole (224) and Tonice White (224)...Mandi Gavin's career assists total stands at 3,287 which is the third-highest total in program history...Gavin has 1,103 assists this season which is 61 shy of her personal single-season best 1,164 set in 2010...Libero Caitlyn Auxilien has posted double figures in digs 26 times in 31 matches in 2012 and with 469 digs enters the SBC Tournament on the verge of becoming only the fifth player in school history to amass 500 digs in a single season.