Sept. 15, 2012
HAMMOND, La. – It was another banner day for middle blockers on Saturday as the Lamar volleyball program once again turned to the duo of Cortney Moore and Wendy Krell to help lead the Lady Cards back from an 0-2 deficit to grab a thrilling 3-2 (27-29, 24-26, 25-15, 25-22, 15-7) victory over Southeastern Louisiana at University Center.
Just two days after a showing against Nicholls that featured eight attack errors, Krell returned to the form that earned her a spot on the Preseason All-Southland First Team. The senior put together a match-high 23 kills, including 17 over the final three sets, and hit at a scorching .465 clip to lead the Lady Cards (9-7, 1-1 SLC).
And when Krell wasn’t on the court, freshman standout Moore was just as effective offensively vs. the Lady Lions (5-5, 1-1 SLC), racking up 15 kills at a .379 clip.
Not to be outdone, Sierra Whittaker nearly joined Krell in the 20-kill category, posting 19.
With big numbers going up around the front line, setter Alex Morford deserves a lot of the credit, and joined former Lady Cards Erin Ludeke, Ashley Todd, Urissa White and Ashley Hallagin as the only players to top 60 assists in a match twice since the start of the rally scoring era. The senior had 63 on Saturday, one short of the career high she set vs. McNeese State last season, and she is the only player to do it twice since sets have been played to 25 points.
Megan Schwartz made her own history on the backline with a career-high 27 digs, which account for the most since 2007 and most in the 25-point era as well. Erika Rojas also tallied double-figures in the category with 15.
After a pair of tight losses in the opening two sets, the Lady Cards got back on track in the third by out-hitting the Lady Lions .517 to .118 out of the break. Whittaker and Krell were the primary instruments of the offensive onslaught in the frame, hitting .429 with 13 kills, including six over the course of a late 13-2 run that secured the 25-15 decision.
If LU was going to force a fifth set, it certainly had to prove its mettle in the fourth as the Lady Lions held a lead for much of the frame. Back-to-back Krell kills handed Lamar its first advantage at 17-16, but the edge was short lived as Veronica Turk picked up a pair of kills over the course of a 3-0 run to put SLU back ahead.
After trading points over the ensuing few minutes, a Whittaker kill pulled the Lady Cards back within one. Erika Rojas tacked on a pair of service aces to give LU a 23-22 lead, and following another SLU error, Rebekah Rightnour and Christina Hobbs picked up a block to send the match to a deciding set.
The fifth frame was decidedly less dramatic as Lamar appeared to return back to the dominant offense that was the difference in the third. Krell had four kills in the set, and the Lady Cards out-hit SLU .350 to .095 to earn their first conference win of the season.
Lamar will return to conference action next week as Northwestern State and Stephen F. Austin make the trek to Beaumont for the first SLC home weekend of the season at McDonald Gym.