LAFAYETTE – A dominant start set the tone for the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns Volleyball team leading to a successful completion of the 2020 home schedule with a 3-0 (25-13, 25-21, 25-20) win over ULM on Saturday at Earl K. Long Gym.
The Ragin’ Cajuns (15-4, 9-4 Sun Belt) wasted little time establishing control hitting .355 (12 K, 1 E, 31 TA) in the opening set and remained well above the .300 mark (29 K, 6 E, 73 TA) through the end of the second set leading to a commanding 2-0 match lead.
Behind the efficient attack, Louisiana rolled out to a 10-2 advantage in the first set and never looked back. The sharp-swinging later carried the Ragin’ Cajuns out of a 10-6 deficit in the second set, eventually pulling ahead for good 14-12 off a pair of kills from Kelsey Bennett.
When the Warhawks (1-17, 0-13 Sun Belt) pushed back in the third set leading to attack errors that had Louisiana playing from behind it was freshman Taylor Gates who stole the show and put the contest away. Gates netted a kill on all four of her swings to spark a 5-0 run which erased an 18-16 ULM lead and stopped the visitors from extending the match.
The win completed a four-match season series sweep of ULM, extending the Ragin’ Cajuns win streak in the overall series to six matches dating back the 2019 season. It was the 10th home win of the 2020 season for the Ragin’ Cajuns marking the first time since 2017 the program records double-digit wins at Earl K. Long Gym.
Louisiana also pulled into a virtual tie with UT Arlington (8-3 Sun Belt) for second place in the Sun Belt West Division ahead of the two teams series Nov. 6-7 at College Park Center in Arlington, Texas.
Team members Julia Angelo, Avery Breaux, Milayne Danna, Hannah Ramirez and Hali Wisnoskie each competed at Earl K. Long Gym for the final time.
LEADING THE RAGIN’ CAJUNS
Wisnoskie fired off a match-high tying 10 kills with the bulk of her contributions coming in the second set when she recorded seven kills. She also passed out three assists and collected six digs.
Kara Barnes rebounded in style by posting nine kills off of 18 error-free swings. The .500 hitting percentage was an answer to a negative percentage on Friday and the 12th time this season she has finished .300-plus in a match with double-digit attack attempts.
Bennett found the floor for a kill seven times getting the exact amount that she needed to reach 200 kills for the second straight season. It also allowed her to secure a second consecutive 200-200 season of both kills and digs.
Gates was a perfect 4-for-4 in her relief effort of Lauren Tishkoff at the right side hitter position. Prior to the substitution, Tishkoff provided seven kills and a match-high tying four blocks.
Ramirez rounded up 19 digs and was joined in double digits by Danna who had 12 digs. For Ramirez, it marked the 31st consecutive match reaching double figures, a streak which dates back to last Oct. 11.
In her last collegiate match in her hometown, Breaux passed out 39 assists, collected nine digs and scored a pair of kills. The senior setter averaged 13-plus assists per set for the sixth time, and it was the 16th time this season averaging 10-plus per set in a contest.
Louisiana travels to Arlington, Texas for the final regular season matches of the 2020 campaign where the squad will face UT Arlington Friday-Saturday, Nov. 6-7 at the College Park Center.The Ragin' Cajuns and Mavericks' three-match series features an 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. doubleheader on Friday, Nov. 6 and a 1 p.m. contest on Saturday, Nov. 7.
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