Nov 2, 2013 12:26 AM by UL Sports Information
LAFAYETTE - The senior tandem of Tonice White and Lavinia Tataran combined for 21 kills and a .326 hitting percentage and the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns volleyball team posted its second best hitting average in Sun Belt Conference play as it earned a 29-27, 25-16, 25-19 victory over Troy on Friday at Earl K. Long Gym.
Chanelle Gardner and Kaylee Nemeth had seven kills each as Louisiana (16-10, 6-6 Sun Belt) hit .303 for the match - its fifth consecutive match of hitting .200 or higher and its best mark since posting a .346 average against ULM on Oct. 2. The win was the fourth in the last six matches for the Ragin' Cajuns and equaled last season's win total when Louisiana finished with a 16-16 record.
Louisiana led 7-4 early in the opening set before Troy (9-17, 4-8 Sun Belt) rallied with an 11-7 spurt to take its first lead of the night, 15-14, when Alexandra Alexander and Marija Zelenovic combined on a block of Louisiana's Sara Mossakowski. The Trojans built a 19-16 lead after three unforced errors by the Ragin' Cajuns forced Louisiana to call timeout.
The Ragin' Cajuns regained the lead at 23-22 on a kill by Mossakowski before the teams traded the next nine points. Tataran, who finished with 10 kills and hit .304 for the match, gave Louisiana a 28-27 lead before White, who finished with 11 kills and a .350 mark, knocked down an unassisted kill to claim the first set.
Louisiana, which outhit Troy .375-.324 in the first set, opened the second frame with a 7-1 run and never looked back. The Ragin' Cajuns pushed their lead to 18-8 on a kill by Andrea Hole and never let Troy get closer than seven points the rest of the way to claim the second set.
Troy, which was led by Blair Winston's 15 kills, led 14-13 on a kill by Marija Zelenovic before the Ragin' Cajuns scored the next five points to pull away. Nemeth tied the match for Louisiana at 14-14 with a kill before Tataran followed with a kill that gave the Ragin' Cajuns the lead for good, 15-14. Three consecutive hitting errors by the Trojans gave Louisiana an 18-14 lead and took a 23-17 lead when White connected on one of her five kills in the set.
Hole dished out 39 assists to lead Louisiana while Caitlyn Auxilien added 13 digs and Nemeth four blocks. Auxilien and Taylor Meade had two aces each for the Ragin' Cajuns, which entered the match leading the Sun Belt Conference in aces per set (1.32).
Kayla Pickart added eight kills for Troy while Zelenovic, the team leader in kills per set (3.38) entering the match, was held to seven and an overall .087 (7-5-23) hitting percentage. Alexandra Alexander posted a double-double for the Trojans with 30 assists and a team-high 10 digs while Zelenovic had four blocks.
Louisiana will return to action on Sunday when it entertains Arkansas State in a noon contest. Live statistics and live video (subscription required) will be available by accessing the volleyball schedule page at www.RaginCajuns.com.