Aug. 28, 2012
BEAUMONT - Sierra Whittaker was looking to rebound from a 1-3 start to the season this past weekend and the junior responded emphatically, picking up 14 kills and hitting .400 to lead the Lamar volleyball team to a 3-0 (25-17, 25-17, 25-21) victory over visiting New Orleans in the home opener at McDonald Gym on Tuesday night.
"I talked to my dad and he told me to just play," Whittaker said. "So that's what I did, I just wanted to get us going with some energy and try to play well."
Three other Lady Cardinals posted five or more kills, led by Wendy Krell's seven, and as a team LU (2-3) registered 42 at a .292 clip. Madi Martin was the facilitator of the offense, dishing out a match-best 35 assists.
Defensively, Cortney Moore was a presence at the net with three block assists, and Cayli McKinney tallied the match high in digs with 11.
The Lady Cards came out firing in the opening set, hitting at a .321 rate, led by five kills from Whittaker and four from Krell. After trailing in the opening moments, a Krell kill and Laila Hansen attack error gave LU the 3-2 lead, and it wouldn't look back.
It was more of the same from Whittaker in the second frame as the junior hit .667 with seven kills, helping LU outhit UNO .296 to .083. The two sides traded points for much of the early goings with a Whittaker kill evening things up at 8-8. She then proceeded to hold serve for five straight points before capping the run with an ace to put the Lady Cards ahead for good.
The final frame proved to be the most dramatic as it featured four lead changes and six ties. After a Brionne Smith kill gave the Privateers a 16-15 lead, Rebekah Rightnour
and Martin picked up consecutive kills to put LU back ahead. Three straight Taylor Berry attack errors gave the lead some cushioning at 20-16, and Whittaker was the go-to weapon down the stretch with two more kills to secure the second win of the season for Lamar.
The Lady Cardinals will continue their homestand later this week with the start of the Lamar Invitational on Friday at McDonald Gym.