Posted: Sep 21, 2012 8:23 AM by UL Sports Information
MONROE - Out-hitting the opposition and a balanced attack on offense, the hallmarks that led the Ragin' Cajuns volleyball team to the title of last weekend's Memphis Invitational, continued in Thursday's Sun Belt opener against La.-Monroe and resulted in a quick sweep of the host-Warhawks.
Louisiana (9-7, 1-0 Sun Belt) out-hit La.-Monroe (4-6, 0-1 Sun Belt) each set and held the Warhawks below .100 each frame. The Cajuns sparkling .256 team percentage overwhelmed the hosts in the 3-0 (25-15, 25-20, 25-19) decision.
Four different Cajuns accrued five kills or more led by the duo of Andrea Hole and Kelly Wiesmann who finished with eight apiece. Lavinia Tataran added seven kills and Blair Claypoole completed the quartet with five kills.
Hole needed only 13 swings to reach her kills tally, and by playing error-free sported a .615 hitting percentage. The Norwegian product also posted a team-best nine digs.
Preseason All-Sun Belt selection Mandi Gavin dished out 25 assists, lowering her total needed to reach 3,000 career assists below 300. Gavin chipped in three kills, an ace, four digs and a block solo.
Libero Caitlyn Auxilien shored up the back row with seven digs and served up three of UL's 10 service aces.
The win marked a measure of revenge for the Cajuns who were swept by the Warhawks in 2011. Louisiana improved to 38-19 all-time vs. La.-Monroe (10-3 in Sun Belt matches).
"The team was so excited to begin conference play," head coach Heather Mazeitis-Fontenot said. "They stuck with our game plan and executed it perfectly.
"We got down a few points in the second and third sets, but they just went back to work," Mazeitis-Fontenot added. "The first set was really fun to watch. I am very proud of our defense. They are the ones helping us to this level of play."
The Ragin' Cajuns have won five of the last six matches and during the hot streak have swept the opposition four times. UL's set record during the streak is 17-4.
Louisiana continues its Sun Belt-opening road trip on Saturday in Denton, Texas with a 1 p.m. , match against North Texas in Mean Green Village. The Cajuns seek their first 2-0 start to league play since 2010 and only the second time in the past 11 seasons (2002-present).
The opening set was a breeze for the Cajuns. Louisiana hit .500 (14 kills, 2 errors, 24 attempts) and limited the Warhawks to a .095 percentage. The result was a convincing 25-15 victory.
Leading 9-6, the Cajuns created separation following a La.-Monroe attack error, Tataran ace and Wiesmann kill which led to a 12-6 lead. The Warhawks got no closer than five points the remainder of the set.
La.-Monroe jumped in front 9-4 in the middle set with three Cajuns attack errors and a bad set by Gavin aiding the cause. A 7-1 run by the Cajuns created the final lead change of the frame.
The Warhawks clung within a point, 18-17, after a Samantha Morse kill. The Cajuns gained breathing room following a Tataran kill off a block error by Morse and an attack error by Zuzana Markova.
The Cajuns finished off the set and seized a 2-0 match lead by registering points on the final three rallies. An Iren Marinova service error made it 23-20, then a block by Claypoole set the stage for the set winner from the senior from Mesquite, Texas, off a set from Gavin.
Louisiana took charge of the final set by scoring six unanswered points to erase a 13-12 deficit. A Hole kills evened the score, then Taylor Meade served up five consecutive points to stake the visitors to an 18-13 advantage.
UL held commanding advantages in kills (35-24), assists (31-18), aces (10-2) and blocks (6-3).
The Cajuns out-hit the Warhawks .500-.095, .100-.040, and .219-.097 in successive sets. The Cajuns hit double digits in kills each set, with the Warhawks not reaching double digits until the third set.
Thursday's match at the La.-Monroe Activity Center was the first of two this season between the Sun Belt West rivals. The Warhawks visit Earl K. Long Gym on Saturday, Oct. 27 to complete the season series.
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