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Cajuns close weekend with convincing sweep

Posted at 7:59 PM, Sep 16, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-18 05:07:11-04

LAFAYETTE – The combination on offense of Shyia Richardson and Celeste Darling along with a defensive shift steered the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns Volleyball team to a 3-0 (25-22, 25-13, 25-22) win over Prairie View A&M in the final match of the Sawyer Camillo Memorial Classic on Saturday, September 16 at E.K. Long Gym.

Richardson's 19 kills and Darling's 13 kills together accounted for 32 of the 48 produced by the Ragin' Cajuns offense. Their efforts paced a UL squad that scored exactly 16 kills in every set and hit .333 (48 K, 12 E, 108 TA) for the match.

After the opening set, Louisiana (9-5) made a switch at libero which allowed Mio Yamamoto and Kennedy Gustafson to appear together on the court. The result was the defense holding Prairie View (5-9) to single digits in kills the final two frames, with the visitors netting only three more kills than they 12 scored in Set 1.

With the exception of the opening rally, won by PVAMU, Louisiana led throughout the entirety of match. The Cajuns scored the next three points of Set 1 and wouldn't face a deficit the remainder of the contest.

The win completed a 3-0 run through the Sawyer Camillo Memorial Classic and extended Louisiana's season-best winning streak to four matches. It was the Ragin' Cajuns seventh straight sets sweep.

Richardson and Darling combined for 12 kills, scoring six apiece, as they alone equaled the Lady Panthers' output in opening set. Five of combined kills came down the stretch allowing the Cajuns to break open a 19-18 lead. Darling landed each of the final three tallies, the latter after PVAMU trimmed the lead to 24-22.

UL quickly established momentum in Set 2, adding Cami Hicks into the mix on offense as she provided four kills in a set-opening 7-3 run. Moments later it was Richardson with a kill that sparked an 8-0 run that was finished off by the serve of Chelsea George, expanding the lead into double figures for good at 16-4.

The first of Richardson's six kills in the third set was followed by a combo block with Hicks and then a kill from Hicks to increase Louisiana's advantage to 6-2. The final pull away began with three kills in succession from Richardson, Darling and Kara Barnes finished off by a Richardson ace that made it 15-6.

Louisiana coasted to the finish line, and was leading 24-13 before the Lady Panthers made a push to extend the match by scoring nine straight points.

Richardson collected her eighth double-digit kills performance of the season and third in as many matches in the Sawyer Camillo Memorial Classic. She ended the tournament with 50 kills on a .262 hitting percentage.

Darling's production came off of only 22 swings and she registered a .455 hitting percentage (13 K, 3 E, 22 TA).

Yamamoto's 16 digs and Gustafson's 13 digs guided the Ragin' Cajuns to a 49-47 edge over the Lady Panthers.

Barnes, Hicks and Mya Wilson each had a hand in multiple blocks, collecting two apiece. Hicks increased her career total to 297 blocks, moving within three of becoming just the fourth Ragin' Cajun in the rally scoring era to each the 300-mark.

Siena DeCambra handed out 44 assists marking her highest in a three-set match this season. Overall, it was the six match of the season she finished with 40-plus helpers.

The Ragin' Cajuns continue their homestand and begin Sun Belt Conference play when they welcome the Troy Trojans to E.K. Long Gym for a two-match series scheduled for Thursday-Friday, Sept. 21-22.

First serve for both nights of the Louisiana-Troy series is set for 6:00 p.m., with live coverage available on ESPN+ and

Louisiana opens SBC play at home for the first time since the 2021 season (Kristi Gray's inaugural season). The Cajuns and Trojans meet on opening weekend for the second straight year, the two teams splitting a series in Troy, Alabama last September.

Follow the Ragin' Cajuns on Twitter (@RaginCajunsVB), Facebook (/RaginCajunsVB) or Instagram (@RaginCajunsVB) to stay up-to-date on all that is happening with Louisiana Volleyball.

Fans are also encouraged to stay engaged with the Ragin' Cajuns by downloading the #GeauxCajuns app. Click here for iOS/Apple platforms and here for Android platforms.
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