VOLLEYBALL: Cajuns sweep App State, advance to Sun Belt Semifinals
JONESBORO, Ark. – Third-seeded Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns Volleyball advanced to the semifinals of the 2017 Sun Belt Conference Tournament with a 3-0 (25-17, 25-22, 25-22) win over No.7 seed Appalachian State on Friday at First National Bank Arena.
The Ragin’ Cajuns (21-10) had at least 14 kills each set, finished with a .286 hitting percentage and out-blocked the Mountaineers (12-20) by a 9-0 margin in picking up the program’s first SBC Tournament win since 2000.
Sparked by a .312 hitting percentage Louisiana opened a 1-0 lead in the match. A 7-2 run midway through the second set opened a 16-11 edge and sent the Ragin’ Cajuns to a commanding lead in the match.
After Appalachian State scored the first point of the third set, Louisiana asserted control with a pair of kills and raced out to a 19-9 lead. The Ragin’ Cajuns .361 percentage in the frame was essential in fending off a late push from the Mountaineers.
LEADING THE RAGIN’ CAJUNS
Hali Wisnoskie produced a match-high 12 kills, Stacey Reilly joined her in double digits with 10. Dree’Ana Abram and Hanna Rovira each supplied eight kills.
Wisnoskie was also the leading blocker with four (2 BS, 2 BA). Abram and fellow middle blocker Nia Antoine combined for six blocks (three each).
Jessica Bartczyszyn, making her first career start in the SBC Tournament, handed out 40 assists and led Louisiana to a .200-plus percentage for the 21st time in 31 outings.
The Ragin’ Cajuns out-dug the Mountaineers 62-51 led by three in double digits: Sydney Davis (16), Lexi Hebert (11) and Avery Breaux (10).
Louisiana faces No. 2 seed Texas State (23-8) in the semifinals of the Sun Belt Conference Tournament at First National Bank Arena in Jonesboro. First serve for the match is set for 5 p.m. Live video will be available via ESPN3.
The Ragin’ Cajuns and Bobcats meet for the third time this season. The teams split the season series, the home team winning each match.
HOW IT HAPPENED
– The Ragin’ Cajuns took control of the first set when a 7-1 run opened a 13-9 lead. The Mountaineers cut the lead to 15-12, then an Abram kill, successful Cajuns challenge and Rovira kill increased the advantage to 18-12. Louisiana later finished off the win by capturing the final four rallies
– From scoring the first point of the second set off an Antoine kill to the end, the Ragin’ Cajuns stayed one step ahead of the Mountaineers. There were four ties, the last at 9-9, but each time Louisiana claimed the sideout. A block thrown up by Antoine and Rovira started a 3-1 run that upped the lead to 17-12. App State pulled within a point twice down the stretch, but missed the next serve each time the last at 23-22.
– It was another App State service error that opened the door for Louisiana in the third set. After the miscue, the Ragin’ Cajuns notched a pair of blocks, service ace and kill to jump ahead 7-2. An Emma Reilly ace cut the Mountaineers deficit to 9-6, then the Cajuns began to pull away starting with a 6-1 run that made it 15-7.
Appalachian State, which later trailed 19-9, wouldn’t go away quietly using a 10-3 run to get within 22-20. The Ragin’ Cajuns found the floor for a kill each time to lock up the win.
– Louisiana and Appalachian State met in the Sun Belt Tournament for the first time. The Ragin’ Cajuns win extended their current series win streak to three matches.
– Prior to Friday’s win, the Ragin’ Cajuns last Sun Belt Tournament win was over Arkansas State in the 2000 event held in New Orleans.
– Louisiana upped its season win total to 21, the new high for the Heather Mazeitis-Fontenot tenure. It’s the program’s most wins since posting 32 in the 1990 season.
– The Ragin’ Cajuns picked up their 10th win away from Earl K. Long Gym this season. The squad is 8-4 in true road matches and 2-3 on a neutral court.
– Hali Wisnoskie’s 12 kills upped her season total to 320. She is now 20 shy of matching the most recorded by a freshman (Amie Goodwin, 2007) in the rally scoring era.
– Hali Wisnoskie hit .333 marking the 13th time in her rookie campaign hitting above .250 in a match of double digit kills.
– Dree’Ana Abram’s three blocks increased her season total to 120. She is just the third Ragin’ Cajun in the rally scoring era to reach the mark, joining Claire Laires and Kim Rodgers. Abram is nine shy of Laires’ rally-era standard 129 blocks in 2001.
– Sydney Davis pushed her season digs total to 575, extending her career-best total. She needs 25 more digs to become only the second player in program history to reach 600 digs in a season (Lindsay Brown, 2010).
– Jessica Bartczyszyn’s 40 digs upped her season total to 1,136. She now sits nine away from surpassing her personal single-season best set just last season (1,144 in 2016).
– Stacey Reilly hit double digits in kills for the first time since Oct. 28 vs. Texas State. She finished with 10 kills off a .259 hitting percentage. Reilly picked up her 18th match of double figures this season, while her career total increased to 57 (over 118 career matches).
FOLLOW THE RAGIN’ CAJUNS
For more information on Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns Volleyball, as well as all of Ragin’ Cajuns Athletics, visit RaginCajuns.com. Fans can also follow along with the team on Facebook (/ULVolleyball), Twitter (@RaginCajunsVB) and Instagram (@RaginCajunsVB).
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