Nov 15, 2012 8:55 PM by UL Sports Information
Troy took a page out of the Ragin' Cajuns volleyball team's book to come away with a 3-1 (23-25, 25-20, 25-22, 25-21) win here in the opening match of the Sun Belt Conference Tournament at E.A. Diddle Arena.
Like the season's first meeting between the two clubs back on Oct. 20 in Troy, Ala., the Ragin' Cajuns (16-16) were victorious in the opening set. Following suit, Troy posted a victory in the second set.
Heading into intermission the script was similar to the meeting in Troy, the match even at 1-apiece.
The Trojans (21-11) wrote a different ending, though, as they turned the tables on Louisiana and won the third and fourth set to escape with a victory in the win-or-go-home quarterfinal matchup.
Behind the offense provided by Blair Winston (19 kills) and Kayla Pickart (14 kills) the second-seeded Trojans were able to outlast the Cajuns.
Troy used a 59-49 kills edge to their advantage, reversing the trend from the meeting in October when Louisiana overpowered them 65-48 in kills. The Trojans out-dug the Cajuns by 20 (68-48) to offset the Cajuns 14-8 edge in blocks.
All-SBC Second-Team honoree Mandi Gavin recorded a double-double for Louisiana with 36 assists and 11 digs, her team-best 12th double-double of her senior campaign. She also contributed with a match-best six blocks and five kills.
Gavin, playing in her 129th and final match as a Ragin' Cajun, closed out her illustrious career - one which saw her become only the fourth player in school history with 3,000 career assists - in third place on the assists chart with 3,324.
Lavinia Tataran notched 12 kills for the Ragin' Cajuns to lead the team and Andrea Hole registered 10 kills and a .300 hitting percentage.
Hole led a quartet of Cajuns to reach nine digs with a team-high 13. Libero Caitlyn Auxilien registered nine digs to finish her sophomore campaign with 478.
Making the program's ninth SBC Tournament appearance the Cajuns fell just short of claiming the first match victory in the event since the 2001 edition in Denver.
Louisiana was off to a great start with a 25-23 win in the opening set, then led 15-11 in the second stanza seemingly headed for an advantageous 2-0 lead in the match before a strong Trojans rally changed the momentum.
"I'm sad and disappointed for our seniors," said head coach Heather Mazeitis-Fontenot who with Thursday's appearance became the first coach to lead Louisiana to multiple conference tournaments since Chris Campbell's three-year run from 1999-2001. "But again this is one more step in the right direction for Ragin' Cajuns Volleyball.
"Our future looks bright and I am extremely proud of the effort our group gave this afternoon and throughout the entire season."
The opening set was a clear indication that it would be a tightly contested match. There were 12 ties and five lead changes.
The Ragin' Cajuns broke out to a slight 19-17 edge, and extended it to 22-19 prompting a Troy timeout. Kills from Hole and Gavin were the bookends of a Gavin block on a 3-0 spurt that resolved a 19-all tie.
The Trojans took the next two points and forced Louisiana to call timeout at 22-21. After the Trojans forced the 12th tie of the set (23-23) the Ragin' Cajuns responded with a kill by Kelly Wiesmann and an ace by Taylor Meade to take the set, 25-23.
The Cajuns were in charge of the second set opening a four point lead on two different occasions (10-6 and 15-11). Kills from Blair Claypoole and Tataran were followed by an Alicia Dukes attack error and staked Louisiana to a 15-11 lead.
The Trojans punched back with a big 7-0 run with Courtney Cohen serving to grab the lead, 18-15. Troy didn't allow Louisiana to get any closer and won the set, 25-20 to bring the clubs into intermission with a result that mimicked the October meeting at Sartain Hall.
Troy grabbed an 11-8 lead in the third frame and pushed it up to 17-12 after big attacks from Winston. Still down 18-13, the Ragin' Cajuns won three consecutive points on Caitlyn Auxilien's serve to get back in it at 18-16. Troy answered with big blocking to extend its lead back up to 23-19 and finished it 25-22 after a kill by Pickart.
The Trojans held an early 10-7 lead in the fourth and created a little distance at 14-10 on a kill by Pickart. Louisiana inched back in it, down 15-13, but more strong attacks from Pickart got the Troy lead back up to 19-13. The Trojans kept the momentum going and finished the set, 25-21.
The loss dropped Louisiana to 4-10 all-time in the Sun Belt Tournament. The matchup with the Trojans was the first between the two programs in SBC Tournament action.
Claypoole and Gavin, the Cajuns' two seniors, saw their collegiate careers expire after the final rally.
SET POINTS: Louisiana won the opening set in a match for the 24th time in 32 outings in 2012...The Cajuns closed out the season winning the opening set in 11 of the final 13 outings...The Cajuns' 47 wins dating back to 2010 mark the best three-year stretch of victories since 48 wins were recorded from 1997-99...Taking Troy to four sets meant that the Cajuns ended the 2012 season having been swept by the opposition only four times in 32 contests...Louisiana ended the season with a 67-53 mark in set play, giving the program a winning mark in set play for the second time in the past three years (64-58 in 2010)...Mandi Gavin dished out 30-plus assists for the 22nd times in 32 matches...Lavinia Tataran upped her season, team-leading kills total to 320, the highest output by a Cajuns player since Lesley Mirarchi posted 364 kills in 2010...Andrea Hole capped off her breakout sophomore campaign with her seventh double-double (10 kills, 13 digs)...Hole finished the year with a 200-kill, 300-dig season (234 kills/322 digs)...Libero Caitlyn Auxilien upped her career digs total to 786 and will enter her junior campaign needing only 214 digs to reach the 1,000 mark...Auxilien's 478 digs marked the fifth-best output in the rally scoring era and highest since Lindsay Brown reached 605 in 2010...Louisiana led the Sun Belt Conference in total service aces (162) boosted by a quintet of players with 20-plus aces - Taylor Meade (34), Andrea Hole (32), Mandi Gavin (31), Lavinia Tataran (29) and Caitlyn Auxilien (21)...The Cajuns offense featured five attackers with 200-plus kills led by Lavinia Tataran's 320...Joining Tataran above 200 kills was Blair Claypoole (280), Kelly Wiesmann (241), Andrea Hole (234) and Tonice White (231).
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Louisiana vs Troy (Nov 15, 2012 at Bowling Green, Ky.)
Quarterfinal Round of 2012 Sun Belt Tournament
Site: Bowling Green, Ky. (E.A. Diddle Arena)
Troy def. Louisiana 23-25, 25-20, 25-22, 25-21
Louisiana (16-16, 6-8) (Kills-aces-blocks) - Tataran, Lavinia 12-1-1; Hole, Andrea 10-0-1; White, Tonice 7-0-5; Claypoole, Blair 7-0-4; Wiesmann, Kelly 5-0-3; Gavin, Mandi 5-0-6; Nemeth, Kaylee 2-0-0; Auxilien, Caitlyn 1-0-0; Meade, Taylor 0-2-0; Totals 49-3-14.0. (Assists) - Gavin, Mandi 36. (Dig leaders) - Hole, Andrea 13; Gavin, Mandi 11; Auxilien, Caitlyn 9; Tataran, Lavinia 9
Troy (21-11, 10-5) (Kills-aces-blocks) - Winston, Blair 19-0-1; Pickart, Kayla 14-0-2; Dukes, Alicia 9-0-0; Cullity, Breanna 7-0-3; Von Pingel, Devin 6-1-3; Parker, Mailande 2-0-2; Alexander, Alexandra 2-0-1; Curran, Kelley 0-2-0; Dowdall, Ali 0-1-0; Totals 59-4-8.0. (Assists) - Alexander, Alexandra 52. (Dig leaders) - Cohen, Courtney 22; Alexander, Alexandra 10; Dowdall, Ali 9; Curran, Kelley 8; Dukes, Alicia 8