Oct. 29, 2011
THIBODAUX, La. - Lamar University got a match-high 14 kills from Sierra Whittaker on Saturday afternoon, and 21 combined kills from middle blockers Christina Hobbs and Wendy Krell, helping the Lady Cardinals to a 3-0 (25-17, 25-23, 25-20) Southland Conference volleyball victory over Nicholls.
The win stopped a four-match losing streak for Lamar (8-19) and got the Lady Cardinals back to .500 in conference play with a 6-6 mark. Lamar's final four matches of the regular season will all be at McDonald Gym, starting with Thursday's 7 p.m. match against Northwestern State.
Lamar head coach Justin Gibert picked up his 99th career coaching victory with the win over Nicholls. Gibert will look to become the fourth head coach in Lamar history with 100 career wins.
Lamar played one of its best offensive matches of the season in picking up a much-needed conference win. The Lady Cards finished with a huge 50-30 advantage in kills, and attacked at an impressive .274 percentage for the match.
"We played pretty well today," said Gibert. "Our middles really stepped up and contributed a lot on offense, and that made a huge difference for us. I really liked the effort we put together as a team."
LU never trailed in winning the first set 25-17. The Lady Cards hit an impressive .462 in the set, getting four kills from Whittaker. Lamar also registered four of its seven service aces in the first set.
The Colonels looked to pull even in set two, taking a 21-18 lead late in the set. Lamar tied it at 21, only to see Nicholls (17-11, 4-8) pull back ahead 23-21. An Alex Morford service ace tied the set at 23, and then Lamar pulled ahead on a Megan McStravick kill. McStravick and Hobbs combined for a block of Jennifer Brandt to close the set and give Lamar a 25-23 victory.
"We won game one easy, but they pushed back really hard in game," said Gibert. "We were down in both sets two and three but kept fighting. They really needed this win today to be eligible for the (Southland Conference) tournament, so they were playing really hard. We kept our composure and pushed well as a team."
The third set was close the whole way, with Lamar tying it at 19-19 on a Nicholls service error. LU went on a strong run from there, outscoring the Colonels 6-1 to close the match 25-20. Whittaker put down her 14th kill of the match to finish the scoring.
Not only was Lamar superior on offense, but the Lady Cards had a dominant 63-42 advantage in digs. Redshirt freshman Megan Schwartz led all players with a career-high-tying 16 digs. Cynthia McCollum added 15 digs and Angel Colyar chipped in with 10.
Krell finished with 11 kills for Lamar, committing just one attack error en route to a .667 attack percentage. Hobbs added 10 kills and five total blocks, while setter Alex Morford handed out 48 assists and picked up nine digs.
Rachel Yezak led the Colonels with eight kills and 12 digs. Jessica Addicks added seven kills, and Carley McInnis finished with 11 digs.