Oct 21, 2012 7:06 PM by UL Sports Information
MOBILE, Ala. - The Ragin' Cajuns volleyball team wasn't able to slow down the South Alabama offensive attack here Sunday afternoon at Jaguar Gym and as a result saw a four-match win streak snapped with a 3-1 (25-27, 18-25, 25-23, 25-27) loss.
The Cajuns (14-12, 5-5 Sun Belt) hit above .200 for the fourth time in the past five matches and averaged over 15 kills per set.
The Jaguars (13-11, 6-4 Sun Belt) were just as efficient and even a little better. USA hit .250 for the match and hit above .200 in each set in remaining undefeated at home in 2012.
Not much separated the two squads. Once glance at the stat sheet proved that. USA had one more kill (62-61), UL had one more assist (55-54), the Jaguars held a 77-75 edge in digs and the Cajuns notched two more blocks (9.0-7.0).
All but one of the four sets were decided by two points. The Cajuns lost the opening set of a match for only the third time in the past 17 outings, and that proved to be a huge boost for the Jaguars.
"We were a bit sluggish and did not serve as agressively in the first two sets as we did in the last two," head coach Heather Mazeitis-Fontenot said. "It could have gone either way, unfortunately today it just did not go our way."
The loss spoiled a season-best output from Lavinia Tataran who accumulated 19 kills and hit .280. Blair Claypoole and Kelly Wiesmann joined her in double figures with 10 kills apiece.
Louisiana's attack wasn't as balanced as the previous four matches on the win streak. Tataran had 50 attempts, but the next closest Cajuns attacker had only 24 attempts.
USA was led by the trio of Savannah Stewart (17 kills), Melissa Waelter (16 kills) and Torlandria Jones (10 kills) who combined for 43 of the squad's 62 kills.
Despite the loss, the Cajuns remain only one game behind co-Sun Belt West division leaders UALR and Arkansas State as the team's regular season approaches the final two weekends of SBC action.
Louisiana returns home to Earl K. Long Gym next weekend for the first pair of four remaining Sun Belt Conference matches. UL faces UL-Monroe on Saturday, Oct. 27 and North Texas on Sunday, Oct. 28 with both matches beginning at 1 p.m.
UL hit above .200 in all but one set. The one set the squad didn't do so, was the second set defeat that put the Cajuns in a 2-0 hole in the match.
The Jaguars defeated the Cajuns at Jaguar Gym for the second straight season. UL lost to USA for only the fifth time in the past 13 meetings, a streak which dates back to 2003.
Mandi Gavin posted a double-double for the second straight outing and eighth time this season by dishing out 41 assists and scooping up 10 digs. Libero Caitlyn Auxilien picked up her 21st double digits digs outing of the year and with a match-high 19 digs moved within four digs of 400 (396 actual).
The Cajuns, having played catch up the entire first set, gained the lead for the first time in the opening frame when a set by Jones gave UL a 25-24 advantage. USA had built an early 8-4 lead and fended off a pair of early ties to keep the pressure on the Cajuns.
A Waelter kill helped the Jags stave off set point, then a Tataran attack error on the subsequent rally returned the lead to USA. Stewart landed a kill on the next rally to give USA a 1-0 lead.
The Jaguars posted a 25-18 victory in the second set on the strength of a .306-.077 edge in hitting percentage.
Louisiana posted a 65 percent success rate on sideouts (15-of-23) and hit .289 to fight off 14 ties and eight lead changes in the third set.
Neither team led by more than two points and a Stewart attack error at 20-all moved the Cajuns into the lead. A Tatran kill opened a two-point edge. USA answered with back-to-back scores for the first of two ties over the final six rallies.
UL avoided the sweep when an attack error by Olivia Mohler and a Tataran kill snapped a 23-all tie and gave the Cajuns a 25-23 set triumph.
The numbers didn't play in the Cajuns' favor in the fourth set. Even though the squad held an 18-17 edge in kills and out-hit the hosts .283 to .222, they still found themselves on the short end of another two-point set.
The Ragin' Cajuns were in control early, rolling out to a 10-4 lead. Louisiana pounded out five kills and threw up four blocks during the hot start.
The Jaguars rallied, using a 14-8 run to draw even at 18-all and then after a Wiesmann kill put UL up 19-18, scored on three straight rallies for a 21-19 edge.
Like the opening set, the Cajuns reached set point at 25-24 on Tataran's 19th kill of the afternoon. Stewart dashed the visitors hopes with kills on each of the next two rallies for a 26-25 USA lead, then a block thrown up by Katariina Kananen and Mohler gave the Jags set and match point.