LAFAYETTE – Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns Volleyball topped ULM in a five-set battle at Earl K. Long Gym on Friday which opened a home-and-home weekend set between the in-state foes.
Louisiana (14-13, 6-7 Sun Belt) prevailed 3-2 (25-22, 22-25, 25-19, 19-25, 15-11) in a tough defensive bout which saw the Ragin’ Cajuns out-block the Warhawks 12-8 and out-dig the visitors 95-88.
The win kept the Ragin’ Cajuns on track in the race for a spot in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament. With three matches remaining, Louisiana trails UT Arlington by 1-1/2 games for the fourth and final spot from the Sun Belt West Division.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The teams traded set victories through the decisive fifth frame. Louisiana was able to remain one step ahead of the Warhawks (10-17, 2-11 Sun Belt) with pivotal rallies in the first and third set.
The Ragin’ Cajuns were able to put away a back-and-forth opening set with a late 5-0 run which erased a 19-17 deficit. Hali Wisnoskie kills were the bookends of the stretch, while the defense forced three ULM miscues.
The momentum-swinging rally came in the third set when Louisiana scored 11 unanswered points after falling behind 12-5.
After the Warhawks hit their match-best .324 in claiming the fourth set, the Ragin’ Cajuns started off the fifth set with three consecutive kills, two off the hands of Desiree Johnson, and never looked back.
LEADING THE RAGIN’ CAJUNS
Wisnoskie produced a season-high 19 kills in pacing Louisiana to a 61-53 advantage. Hanna Rovira found the court 12 times, Nia Antoine supplied 10 kills and Dree’Ana Abram scored eight kills on just 18 swings.
Setters Milayne Danna and Avery Breaux stole the show defensively. Danna scooped a team-high tying 21 digs to go with her team-high 25 assists and Breaux collected 18 digs of her own.
Antoine threw up seven blocks which increased her career total to 283 and moved her into fourth place on the rally scoring era Top 5 listing. Rovira (4 blocks) and Wisnoskie (4 blocks) were the other key performers on the frontline.
Libero Sydney Davis’ 21 digs marked her 101st career double-digit performance and increased her career total to 1,948. She’s now 52 digs shy of joining Nia Kiggundu (2,043 career digs) as individuals to reach 2,000 career digs.
The Ragin’ Cajuns and Warhawks are set for a rematch on Sunday in Monroe. First serve is scheduled for 2 p.m. at Fant-Ewing Coliseum.
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