LAFAYETTE, La. (9/29/17) – The Arkansas State volleyball squad suffered a tough 3-2 (20-25, 25-13, 26-24, 26-28, 11-15) loss at the hands of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette Friday night inside Earl K. Long Gym in Lafayette.
A-State (8-8, 1-2 SBC), ahead 2-1 in the match, fell behind 17-12 in set four, but a 9-1 rally, capped on a block by Drew Jones, put the Red Wolves in front 21-18. The visitors earned match point at 24-21 on a kill by Ellie Watkins, but a 4-0 rally by the Ragin’ Cajuns (9-7, 3-0 SBC) flipped the momentum and put them ahead 25-24. The two teams would battle to a 26-26 tie, but two straight points for Louisiana gave the home squad a 28-26 victory to force a decisive fifth set.
The fifth set began with the two teams splitting the first 12 points, but Louisiana pulled ahead 8-6 and wouldn’t relinquish the lead. Kenzie Fields was able to bring A-State within 13-11 to force a timeout by the Cajuns, but a block and subsequent kill clinched the set at 15-11 for Louisiana a 3-2 match win, which is the first for the Ragin’ Cajuns over A-State since 2013.
“We made too many errors at the end of the fourth set and gave it away,” A-State head volleyball coach David Rehr said. “Unfortunately, the mistakes carried over into the fifth set for us so we didn’t get the job done. I give a lot of credit to the Cajuns too, they are a much-improved team and showed it tonight.”
Carlisa May led the Red Wolves with a season-high 24 kills on a .352 hitting percentage, also a season-best. Watkins handed out a career-high 60 assists and added 10 digs for her second double-double of the season. Fields had the second most kills on the team (12) and claimed her fifth double-double of the season with a career-best 22 digs, while Jones picked up her team-high eighth double-double (11 kills and 12 digs). Tatum Ticknor (33) and Lindsay Cline (20) both tallied career highs in digs.
A-State hit .228 to Louisiana’s .203 and also had four aces to the Cajuns’ two, but both of theirs came late in the fourth set comeback. The only team category Louisiana led in the match was blocks by a count of 11-8.
Louisiana jumped out of the gates with a 4-0 edge in set one, but A-State was able to pull within one at 19-18 on a kill by May. However, the Cajuns ended the set on a 6-2 run to claim a 25-20 victory. The Red Wolves responded with a resounding set two win by a score of 25-13. The frame was tied at 4-4 early on, but A-State went ahead 17-8 and never looked back.
The third set began like the second with A-State racing ahead 13-6 before Louisiana came back to tie things up at 21-21. The set went on to be knotted at 24-24 before an attack error by the Ragin’ Cajuns and kill from Fields clinched a 26-24 set three win for A-State.
Stacey Reilly was one of five players in double-digit kills for Louisiana and led the home team with 15, while Hanna Rovira posted a match-high five blocks.
Arkansas State returns to action Sunday, Oct. 1 against ULM. First serve in Monroe, La., is set for 12 p.m.
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