Privateers withstand Southern rally, win opener of UNO Invitational

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NEW ORLEANS – Sophia Ewalefo racked up a career-best 18 kills and Trinity Jackson added 11 kills as the New Orleans Privateers (3-4) held off a resilient Southern Jaguars (0-7) squad by the score of 3-1 (25-16, 25-19, 25-27, 25-20) on Thursday night at the Lakefront Arena.

Ewalefo had kills on each of her first four swings and had seven digs along with three aces. Jackson finished with 11 kills in three sets. Rita Zecchin led the squad with 15 digs while Kamryn Scroggins added 12 digs and 36 assists.

Sydney Gott finished with three blocks and Ewalefo also had three blocks. Mauri Carver finished with two blocks (one solo, one assist).

New Orleans was down early by a score of 6-2 but a six-point swing highlighted by a block, an ace and kills by two Privateers put the home side in front 8-6. The sides went back and forth for most of the rest of the set until two straight Jackson kills put the Privateer lead up to 21-17.

From there, the home side was able to see out the rest of the set and the match. A kill by Carver and an attack error on the Jaguars sealed the 41st victory against Southern in program history. It’s the third most wins against an opponent in program history.

Southern rallied back from down 12-4 to extend the match by taking the third set. Akilah Smith had two critical kills down the stretch to help the Jaguars complete the comeback. Southern hit .286 with 14 kills in the set.

The Privateers raced out to a 10-4 lead early in the first set and hit .357 in that stretch. New Orleans was not threatened for most of the remainder of the set as the Jaguars only got as close as within four points for the remainder of the opening set.

New Orleans had a similar run at the outset of the second set. The Privateers had a five-point spurt to gain an 11-6 lead. The Privateers had six of the next nine points to further extend their lead to 17-9 and they did not face a threat for the remainder of the set.

The Privateers will face Texas Southern at 4 p.m. on Friday.

Fans are encouraged to follow @PrivateersVB on Twitter, @PrivateersVB on Instagram, like /PrivateersVB on Facebook and subscribe to the PrivateerAthletics YouTube channel.

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