Oct 13, 2012 2:02 AM by UL Sports Information
The Ragin' Cajuns volleyball stormed out the gate with a .348 hitting percentage to grab hold of a commanding 2-0 lead in Friday's match with Arkansas State at Earl K. Long Gym, then fended off a Red Wolves rally in a 3-1 (25-20, 25-16, 19-25, 25-21) victory.
The win gives the Cajuns (11-11, 3-4 Sun Belt) a great start in a pivotal weekend against two of the Sun Belt West division's front runners. ASU entered the night with a two-game lead over UL. The Cajuns pulled within a game of the Red Wolves in the league standings.
The Cajuns attempt to draw closer to the SBC West's other front runner on Saturday at 7 p.m., as current division leader UALR (9-9, 5-1 Sun Belt) visits Earl K. Long Gym. The Cajuns have won three of the past four meetings with UALR, a streak that dates back to 2010.
Lavinia Tataran threw down a match-high 14 kills in leading a trio of Cajuns in double figures and a quintet that amassed at least eight kills. Joining Tataran in double figures was Kelly Wiesmann (12 kills) and Andrea Hole (11 kills).
Mandi Gavin registered eight kills on a .500 hitting percentage, dished out 37 assists, scooped four digs and netted three block assists in an all-around effort.
Gavin lowered her total needed for 3,000 career assists to 60, with the milestone now likely coming next Tuesday (Oct. 16) at New Orleans.
Louisiana snapped a string of four straight matches hitting below .200, finishing .230 (58 kills, 23 errors, 152 attempts) against the Red Wolves (14-9, 4-3 Sun Belt).
UL's crisp hitting percentage over the first two sets paced the squad to a sizeable advantage in kills. The Cajuns ended the match out-killing ASU 58-47. The defense limited ASU to .200 or below hitting each set except the third set.
Libero Caitlyn Auxilien's 18th match with double figure digs, a total of 13, paced three Cajuns in double digits. Both Hole (12 digs) and Tataran (10 digs) joined her giving the two of them a double-double for the night.
Jasmine Terry was the lone ASU player to collect double figures in kills, ending with a team-best 12. Libero Megan Baska was limited to 4.00 digs per set, below her season average of 4.19 digs per set.
Louisiana broke a two-match losing streak at Earl K. Long Gym and won for the 23rd time in the past 32 outings in the friendly confines. The Cajuns avoided a three-match home court skid, something which hasn't occurred since 2009.
The Cajuns wasted little time capturing the match's momentum. A .312 hitting percentage in the opening set, followed by an even hotter .378 percentage in the second set staked the hosts to a 2-0 advantage.
The Red Wolves benefited from a sluggish performance by UL in the third set to extend the match and prevent a sweep. The Cajuns committed 11 attack errors in the third frame which offset a 15-10 edge in kills and gave ASU a 25-19 set victory.
The Cajuns flipped the script on ASU in the fourth set as the defense forced the Red Wolves into 10 attack errors and a 63 percent success rate in sideouts paved the way to the match-clinching triumph.
UL battled through 10 ties and five lead changes in the final stanza to avoid the unlucky fifth set.
Trailing 9-8, the Cajuns ripped off four unanswered to seemingly take control. A Tataran kill forged a tie, and then a Wiesmann kill put UL ahead 10-9. A Tataran ace and Gavin kill extended the advantage to 12-9. It was Tataran who served up the momentum changing rally.
The Cajuns held the lead for 16 consecutive rallies before ASU attempted to turn the tables. The Red Wolves jumped in front 20-19 after a Tatran attack error and Kelsey Sullivan kill netted back-to-back points.
An Ashley Tipps attack error gave sideout to UL, then the Cajuns turned to the serve of Tataran again. This time it was a set-saving serving spree from the Romanian product.
Tataran served up four straight points following Tipss' miscue with the tallies coming off three ASU attack errors and a Wiesmann kill.
Tipss threw up a block on a White attack attempt to delay set and match point. Gavin set up Wiesmann for a kill off an ASU block to close out the set at 25-21.
Not only did the Cajuns inch closer to the top of the Sun Belt West standings, but the squad improved to 2-1 in the first round of divisional play which wraps up Saturday with UALR.
UL defeated ASU for the second time in the past three meetings at Earl K. Long Gym (posted a 3-1 win on Oct. 30, 2010) and snapped a three-match losing skid to the visitors.
The Cajuns have now accrued 42 wins since the 2010 campaign and are four victories shy of equaling the most recent successful three-year run of 46 wins posted from 2000-02.
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Arkansas State vs Louisiana (Oct 12, 2012 at Lafayette, La.)
Site: Earl K. Long Gym
Attend: 404 Time: 1:38
Louisiana def. Arkansas State 25-20, 25-16, 19-25, 25-21
Arkansas State (14-9, 4-3 Sun Belt) (Kills-aces-blocks) - Terry, Jasmine 12-0-4; Chaparro, Amanda 9-0-0; Hodges, Kelsie 8-0-3; Sullivan, Kelsey 7-0-1; Kearney, Allison 5-1-1; Coughlin, Taylor 2-0-0; Tipps, Ashley 2-0-2; Hadar, Marie 1-0-1; Clark, Sadie 1-0-0; Baska, Megan 0-1-0; Townsend, Haley 0-1-0; Totals 47-3-7.0. (Assists) - Kearney, Allison 39. (Dig leaders) - Kearney, Allison 19; Baska, Megan 16; Coughlin, Taylor 9
Louisiana (11-11, 3-4 Sun Belt) (Kills-aces-blocks) - Tataran, Lavinia 14-1-2; Wiesmann, Kelly 12-0-2; Hole, Andrea 11-1-1; Gavin, Mandi 8-1-3; White, Tonice 8-0-3; Claypoole, Blair 5-1-5; Meade, Taylor 0-1-0; Auxilien, Caitlyn 0-1-0; Totals 58-6-8.0. (Assists) - Gavin, Mandi 37. (Dig leaders) - Auxilien, Caitlyn 13; Hole, Andrea 12; Tataran, Lavinia 10; Meade, Taylor 8