Volleyball dominates weekend to open Sun Belt play


Brooke Johnson dives to keep the ball in play at the Sept. 29 game against ULM. Photo credit: Katelyn Lester

Dedrick Johnson

Texas State volleyball took on two Louisiana teams to open conference this weekend, going 2-0 with two strong wins against Louisiana and the University of Louisiana-Monroe at home.

The Bobcats are now 10-6 and have won seven out of their last eight games.

On Sunday the Bobcats were able to pull off a clean 3-0 sweep against ULM (25-13, 25-17, 25-19), marking their third sweep in the last five games. The offensive attack in this game was simply too much to handle for ULM, and the ‘Cats dominated by putting up their highest hitting percentage of the season (.440).

Head coach Karen Chisum said the team played a well-rounded game which led them to hit at such a high percentage.

“That was a complete game,” Chisum said. “I can’t be happier than I am right now. Hats off to the team. We passed well, Emily (DeWalt) distributed the ball well and the hitters (took) care of business.”

The ‘Cats dominated in every regard, pulling ahead of ULM in every stat, including kills (48-32), assists (43-28), aces (7-3), digs (40-31), and blocks (5-4).

Chisum also said the sweep brought in a new level of confidence as they move farther into conference play.

“What we wanted from the team was to feel good after this weekend and to build our confidence,” Chisum said. “These kids are ready for whoever we put out in front of them now.”

The easy win came after a slightly tougher 3-1 victory against Louisiana Friday night (25-23, 21-25, 25-13, 25-20). Even with many lead changes and long rallies on both sides, the Bobcats found a way to execute their first conference win with a strong defensive performance.

Five players ended up with double-digit digs and totaled 97 digs under the leadership of senior setter Emily DeWalt (25) and junior libero Brooke Johnson (19).

Four Bobcats reached season-highs and three made career records in their first conference matchup. Senior outside hitter Cheyenne Huskey paced both teams with a season-high of 21 kills, while sophomore OH Janell Fitzgerald trailed not far behind with 15 and Courtney Heiser performed a season-best of 13. Alongside her career-high 25 digs, DeWalt matched her season-high of 47 assists while taking in her fifth double-double of the season. On the defensive side, two ‘Cats made career history with Johnson’s 19 digs and DS Rylie Fuentes recording 17 saves.

Huskey had a memorable weekend, ending up with a total of 35 kills between the two games. Huskey believes the team’s confidence is high and is happy they got to start conference play at home.

“I think now that we are 2-0 in conference everyone is starting to relax while they play,” Huskey said.

Fitzgerald also played well through this weekend racking up 25 kills through two games. Fitzgerald and Huskey credit some of their success to playing alongside each other, Fitzgerald said.

“I love it,” Fitzgerald said. “We are always on each other and neck and neck every single game and practice.”

Dewalt also played a huge role this weekend, putting up a double-double in both games including team-highs of 46 and 41 assists.

Fitzgerald calls DeWalt the team captain and believes she is a great teammate to have.

“She is always a team player and it shows,” Fitzgerald said. “She is an amazing player on and off the court. She’s very consistent.”

The Bobcats will look to stay hot as they ravel to Arkansas State on Friday to kick off their three-game road trip.

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