Aug 31, 2014 1:31 AM by AP
HOUSTON, Texas - The Ragin' Cajuns volleyball team picked up a pair of wins on Saturday at Tudor Fieldhouse in the Adidas Rice Invitational, finishing off a 3-0 weekend with victories over Rice and UC Davis.
Andrea Hole was named the tournament MVP at the conclusion of the event, while Kaylee Nemeth and Chanelle Gardner were each named to the all-tournament team.
Louisiana 3, Rice 2
Kaylee Nemeth had a career-high 19 kills and Caitlyn Auxilien moved into the top five at Louisiana in career digs as the Ragin' Cajuns pulled off a 3-2 (25-20, 17-25, 25-21, 16-25, 15-7) win over Rice.
The win was the first-ever for Louisiana (2-0) over the Owls (1-1), a team who was picked third in Conference USA this season and who had taken each of the previous seven matches in the all-time series. Nemeth finished with 19 kills on the match, to go with three blocks, surpassing her previous career high of 15.
She was one of four Cajuns to finish with at least 10 kills, joined by Chanelle Gardner (12), Stacey Reilly (11) and Sara Mossakowski (10).
Libero Caitlyn Auxilien picked up a match-high 23 digs, moving past Annette Carey into the No. 5 spot on the all-time digs list at Louisiana. Andrea Hole also picked up her second double-double in as many matches with 51 assists and 16 digs.
Kae Kae Lockhart had four kills on the day, but tied for match-high honors with seven blocks.
The Ragin' Cajuns hit just .103 in the opening set, but held the Owls to -.028 and got six kills from Nemeth, including a pair in a 6-0 run to close out the set and take a 25-20 win.
One set later, the Owls tied it up with a 25-17 win in Set 2, thanks in large part to a 13-2 run midway through the frame. But the Cajuns responded, putting together its best offensive set of the match in Set 3 by hitting .275 with 17 scoring swings to re-take the lead 2-1.
But Rice returned the favor in the fourth, putting together its third straight set with at least a .220 attack percentage and led by as much as nine points in the set to square the match at 2-2 with a 25-16 victory.
In the fifth set, the Cajuns broke an early 4-4 tie with a kill from Lockhart to spark a quick 5-0 run in the race to 15. From there, the Owls could not get any closer than six points and the Cajuns got kills from Reilly, Nemeth and Gardner in the final surge to secure the win.
Louisiana 3, UC Davis 1
Stacey Reilly had her second double-double of the weekend, and the Ragin' Cajuns finished off UC Davis to complete a perfect 3-0 weekend at the Rice Invitational.
Reilly finished with 11 kills and 10 assists , and Kaylee Nemeth had 11 kills as well, helping the Cajuns hit .207 for the match and move to 3-0 on the season for the second time under Heather Mazeitis-Fontenot, and the first time since 2009.
Andrea Hole added 40 assists to her weekend total and 10 digs for her third straight double-double. She was later named tournament MVP.
Chanelle Gardner had a hand in five of Louisiana's eight blocks for the match to go with five kills, making her one of five Cajuns with at least five kills for the match. Hole and Kae Kae Lockhart also picked up three blocks.
The first set was tight throughout, with neither team holding more than a three-point lead until the Cajuns put together a 5-1 run at the end of the set to close out a 25-20 victory.
But in Set 2, UC Davis found itself leading throughout. The Aggies hit a match-high .367 and led for the majority of the set, holding Louisiana to just .103 hitting.
The Cajuns had to fight back in the third frame, trailing by as much as five points at 15-10 of the set before catching fire and going on a 15-3 run that gave them a 2-1 lead and propelled them into the final frame where they never trailed.
Louisiana opens up its home slate on Friday at Earl K. Long Gym when it hosts the Sawyer Camillo Classic. The Cajuns will host Southern and Southern Miss on Friday before holding matches against Nicholls State and Northwestern State on Saturday.