NCAA volleyball: SFA has 4-0 weekend; Louisiana sweeps USA twice

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Janell Fitzgerald of Texas State attacks against UTEP on Friday/Texas State photo

Stephen F. Austin, which dominated the Southland Conference in 2019, is off to a 5-1 start this season after picking up four victories in two days. Friday, SFA swept Lamar and Louisiana-Monroe, and then on Saturday swept Lamar before beating Houston Baptist in five.

Louisiana improved to 4-0 behind Hali Wisnoskie, who became the school’s all-time leader in kills in the rally-scoring era. The Ragin’ Cajuns swept South Alabama on Friday behind 18 kills by Wisnoskie, and then Saturday she had 21 more kills in another sweep. 

Among the Saturday results was Chattanooga beating Georgia State in five, 24-22 in the fifth set.

The next NCAA Division I volleyball match on the schedule is Thursday, when The Citadel of the Southern Conference goes to Virginia Tech of the ACC. That marks the first match of the season for a Power 5 team.

Then on Friday, six more matches are on the schedule as another ACC team, Clemson, opens its season, also against The Citadel.

SFA goes 4-0 — In the Ladyjacks’ 25-7, 25-14, 25-7 shellacking of Lamar, they hit .469 as seven players had kills. Adriana Pagan led with nine in 19 errorless swings, hit .474, and had two of team’s six aces and three digs. Susan Gillett had eight kills, hit .467, and had three digs. Payton Cerny had seven kills in 11 errorless attacks to hit .636 and had two blocks and a dig. Lamar, also in the Southland Conference hit .011.

SFA then beat Louisiana-Monroe 25-8, 25-19, 25-11. Gillett led with eight kills, four blocks and two digs, and Leah Powell had eight kills, an assist, two blocks and three digs. Ashley Procious had five kills, an assist, a dig and nine blocks, two solo. 

ULM of the Sun Belt Conference hit .018.  

Saturday afternoon, SFA overpowered Lamar again, this time 25-13, 25-19, 25-16, as the Ladyjacks hit .306 and got kills from eight players. Taya Mitchell led with 11 as she hit .786 with no errors in 14 attacks to go with three digs and five blocks, two solo. Ielan Bradly had eight kills and hit .417.

Lamar, which hit .106, got 11 kills from Reese Cummings.

And then Saturday night, SFA defeated Houston Baptist 25-19, 25-22, 22-25, 22-25, 15-9.

Payton Cerny had 21 kills for the Ladyjacks, as she hit .326 and had a dig and three blocks, one solo. Leah Powell had 16 kills and five digs, while Ariana Pagan had 11 kills, a solo block and 20 digs. Susan Gillett had 10 kills.

Mikayla Vivens led HBU with 16 kills and two blocks, one solo, and 15 digs. Kelly Colwell had 15 kills, an assist, a solo block, and 17 digs. Megan Patillo had eight kills and three blocks, one solo, and Ellie Wipf had five kills, 38 assists, two blocks and 15 digs.

Earlier Friday, ULM, behind Haley Coulter, beat Lamar 25-22, 20-25, 25-23, 25-18. Coulter had 21 kills, two aces, two blocks and 23 digs. Cali Assaley had 11 kills and Ina Gosen 10.

On Saturday morning, Houston Baptist left both teams with 1-2 records as the Huskies beat ULM 25-22, 25-16, 25-21. 

HBU, which hit .230, had six players with five or more kills, including eight by Vivens. She added two assists, an ace, a block and 13 digs. 

The Warhawks hit .130. Coulter led with nine kills, 13 digs and a solo block. 

Ragin’ Cajuns sweep USA twice — Louisiana beat its Sun Belt rival 25-17, 25-10, 25-22 on Friday as Wisnoskie hit .444 and had an assist, an ace, eight digs and three blocks, one solo. The Cajuns hit .305, which included eight kills from Kara Barnes, who had one error in 13 attacks and hit .538. She also had two aces and five digs, one solo.

South Alabama, which hit .102, got seven kills from Rebecca Walk. 

Then on Saturday, Wisnoskie led with 21 kills and hit .452 with only two errors in 42 attacks in a 25-17, 25-22, 25-17 victory. She added an ace, a block and seven digs. Taylor Gates had nine kills and hit .412, and Kelsey Bennett had seven kills, hit .333, and had two assists, an ace, seven digs and three blocks, one solo. The Ragin Cajuns hit .311.

Hannah Maddux had 12 kills for South Alabama, which hit .137.

Texas State, UTEP split — The Bobcats got all they could handle from visiting UTEP on Friday in a 15-25, 25-22, 25-12, 23-25, 15-10 victory that saw Janell Fitzgerald record 20 kills as her team won its 15th home match in a row.

Fitzgerald hit .326 but her team finished at .203. She also had five digs and six blocks, one solo. Lauren Teske added nine kills and Tyeranee Scott and Juliana Slaughter had eight kills each. Scott had four blocks and Slaughter six, two solo.

UTEP, which hit .116, had 11 aces and 14 errors. Alianza Darley led with 12 kills and five blocks. Serena Patters had 10 kills, 10 digs and four blocks, two solo. Sophia Chacon had four aces and Kristen Fritsche three.

But UTEP came back strong on Saturday, winning 25-21, 23-25, 25-20. 25-23. It left Texas State 3-1, while UTEP is 1-1.

Darley led UTEP again, this time with 17 kills as she hit .382 to go with four blocks. Irbe Lazda had 13 kills, hit .310, and also had four blocks. Paulin Perez Rosas had 10 kills, an assist, and 10 digs. And Serena Patterson had eight kills, five of her team’s nine aces, a block and seven digs. Setter Kristen Fritsche had two kills in as many attempts, had 29 assists and four digs. UTEP hit .226.

Texas State, which hit .156, got 11 kills from Caitlan Buettner and 10 each from Scott and Fitzgerald. Emily DeWalt had eight kills, hit .385, and had 34 assists, an ace, two blocks and 15 digs. Slaughter had had six blocks, two solo.

Mercer tops The Citadel — The Bears, also from the Southern Conference, won 29-27, 25-16, 20-25, 25-13 in the season opener for both teams. 

Annie Karle and Brittany Major had 14 kills apiece and Jaida Howell aded 10. Karle hit .370 and had two assists, an ace and eight digs. Major had one error in 35 swings, hit .371, and had an ace and five digs. Nya Steele had 36 assists, a kill, three of her team’s 14 aces, and four digs and two blocks. And Raynne de Oliveira had five aces. The Bears hit .306.

Mellanie King led The Citadel with 14 kills, while Maya Elassal, Makaya Middleton, and Kathleen Bula had eight each. Megan Fuhr had two kills, 44 assists, a solo block and 10 digs.

Chattanooga tops GSU in five — There were some big offensive numbers as Chattanooga of the Southern Conference beat visiting Georgia State of the Sun Belt 29-27, 25-18, 20-25, 22-25, 24-22 in the season opener for both teams. 

Gylian Finch had 25 kills and MacKenziue Saitta 23 for Chattanooga — both took 63 swings — while Meisheia Griffin had 21 and Leah Wilcox 20 for Georgia State. 

Finch hit .302 and had two aces and 11 digs. Saitta had a block and a dig. Maia Rackel added 10 kills and four blocks, two solo. Sophia Bossong had 67 assists, an ace and eight digs. Paige Gallentine had 33 digs.

Griffin hit .349 and had two aces, a dig and 13 blocks, one solo. Wilcox had an ace, four block and 14 digs. Dzemila Hadzic had 10 kills, a block and eight digs. Jordan Shoemaker had four kills, 56 assists, an ace, three blocks and 16 digs.

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