Volleyball splits the weekend in Louisiana

Head+volleyball+coach+Karen+Chisum+celebrates+her+team+after+a+successful+play+during+the+tournament+game+against+UTSA+on+Sept.+19+at+Strahan+Coliseum.
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Volleyball splits the weekend in Louisiana

Head volleyball coach Karen Chisum celebrates her team after a successful play during the tournament game against UTSA on Sept. 19 at Strahan Coliseum.

Head volleyball coach Karen Chisum celebrates her team after a successful play during the tournament game against UTSA on Sept. 19 at Strahan Coliseum.

Kate Connors

Head volleyball coach Karen Chisum celebrates her team after a successful play during the tournament game against UTSA on Sept. 19 at Strahan Coliseum.

Kate Connors

Kate Connors

Head volleyball coach Karen Chisum celebrates her team after a successful play during the tournament game against UTSA on Sept. 19 at Strahan Coliseum.

Cade Andrews, Sports Reporter

After completing their final away games of the season, the Texas State volleyball team split the weekend in Louisiana. The team completed the sweep against Monroe on Friday but fell short to Lafayette in five sets the following Sunday.

The Bobcats improved to 19-8 and 11-2 in the conference and maintain their spot at the top of the Sun Belt Conference with the best record.

Despite winning the first set, Texas State eventually fell to Lafayette 3-2 (25-20, 22-25, 25-20,17-25,10-15) on Sunday.

Lafayette and Texas State were almost evenly matched in every statistical category. The Bobcats slightly led the Cajuns in blocks (10-7), assists (59-56), and digs (79-73), but the Cajuns had the advantage in aces (8-2).

Senior outside hitter Cheyenne Huskey led the way for the Bobcats with 21 kills to go with her three blocks and an ace. Sophomore Janell Fitzgerald was right behind her with 16 kills. Freshman Caitlan Buettner also finished in double-digit kills with 11. Freshman middle blocker Tessa Marshall had eight kills and led the team with six blocks. Sophomore Emily DeWalt finished the match with 48 assists and 23 digs.

The team proved they had great players on and off the bench this weekend, head coach Karen Chisum said.

“We’re playing on the outside,” Chisum said. “(Teske) and (Buettner) came in and did a good job, and another kid that stepped in this weekend was (Marshall). So those kids got some experience and I think it’s going to be crucial down the line.”

The loss came down to a lack of desire to win and an uncharacteristically poor passing game, Chisum said.

“They wanted it more than we did,” Chisum said. “We did not pass very well and that really created some problems in that we were out of system a lot of times. We don’t do that very often. We made some errors at critical times and you just can’t do that when it gets down to playing for first place or going for the win.”

Earlier in the weekend, Texas State defeated ULM in three straight sets (25-22, 25-15, 26-24) for its 11th sweep of the season at the Fant-Ewing Coliseum.

The Bobcats led the Warhawks in every statistical category. Both teams hit under .200, but the Bobcats still held the advantage .174-.112. The Bobcats won in kills (40-31), assists (36-26), and digs (63-46). They also just edged out the Warhawks in aces (5-4) and blocks (7-6). With the win, the Cats improved to 46-2 all-time against the Warhawks and have won their last 15 matches.

Adding on to her dominant season, Huskey once again finished with a double-double with 16 kills (.353) and 10 digs. Fitzgerald closely followed with 10 kills on a .412 hitting percentage. DeWalt nearly had a double-double after turning in 35 assists and nine digs. Junior middle blocker Tyeranee Scott led the team with four blocks and senior defensive specialist Rylie Fuentes led the back row with 13 digs.

Despite the victory, Chisum was disappointed that the team did not rack up the best hitting percentage or play at their usual level.

“It went pretty well, (but) we weren’t very sharp and ULM played decent,” Chisum said. I was very pleased to get through all three sets and take it away. It’s tough being on the road as much as we have.”

The split wasn’t too bad of an outcome for the team, according to Chisum, and she didn’t let the loss bring the team down.

“Sometimes a loss, whether we like it or not, is a good learning experience,” Chisum said. “We’ve just got to learn from it and move forward. We’ve got to work hard, we’ve got to sharpen things up, (and) we’ve got three matches left here in the regular season so we have to take care of them and then we’ll be in good shape.”

Next up for the ‘Cats is a tough two-match series at home this weekend. Texas State will face Arkansas State, the first team to beat the Bobcats in conference, on Saturday. Chisum said the game is one of redemption and that the team has evolved since they last played them.

“The kids have really been looking to that as a revenge match,” Chisum said. “Our depth is pretty good. We’ve been just getting some experience with our bench.”

The ‘Cats will focus on fundamentals and continuing to support each other and prepare for the weekend, Chisum said.

“We just stubbed our toe Sunday afternoon,” Chisum said. “We’ve just got to get back to feeling good. We’re a family, we’re a team, we’ve got to support each other and be the best teammate we can be.”

Texas State returns to Strahan Coliseum next weekend to take on Arkansas-Little Rock on Friday at 6:30 p.m. and Arkansas State on Saturday at 7 p.m.

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