Volleyball closes out home schedule this week

GO CARDINALS <b>Sierra Whittaker</b>
Sierra Whittaker

Nov. 6, 2013

BEAUMONT – With two weeks and four matches left in the regular season, this week’s meetings at McDonald Gym could prove crucial if the Lamar volleyball team is to make a return to the Southland Tournament later this month.

The Lady Cardinals, which are angling with three other teams for the last three spots in the Southland’s premier event, enter Thursday’s encounter with Nicholls with a 6-8 conference record and an 8-18 mark overall, tying the team for eighth in the league and seventh among tournament-eligible teams. LU is tied with Stephen F. Austin and McNeese State and trails Houston Baptist by just one game.

The Last Meeting
September 21, 2013
Thibodaux, La.
Grant leads Lady Cards past Nicholls

THIBODAUX, La. – Chelsea Grant racked up a career-high 11 kills to go along with eight blocks on Saturday to help the Lamar volleyball team to its first Southland Conference victory of the year with a 3-0 (25-19, 25-22, 25-22) decision over Nicholls at Stopher Gym.

The Last Meeting
McNeese State3
September 19, 2013
Lake Charles, La.
Lady Cards drop 3-1 decision at McNeese

LAKE CHARLES - Sierra Whittaker picked up a match-high 20 kills on Thursday evening, but it wasn't enough for the Lamar volleyball team as the Lady Cardinals fell to McNeese State in a Southland Conference showdown at Memorial Gym.

Incarnate Word, which is currently seventh in the league, is not eligible for postseason because the school is transitioning up from Division II.

Following Thursday’s encounter, LU will take part in an even more important match as McNeese comes to town on Saturday. Next week, the Red and White are set to do battle with Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Wednesday and Houston Baptist next Saturday, both on the road.

If the Lady Cardinals are to succeed in making that return to the SLC Tournament, a large part of the burden is likely to fall on the shoulders of Sierra Whittaker, who is entering her final weekend of matches at McDonald Gym. The Houston native is the only senior on this year’s squad, and she’s leaving with her name forever etched in the history books after becoming the 18th player in school history to join 1,000 kill club earlier this season. She enters Thursday’s match with 1,082 career kills, averaging a team-best 3.47 per set.

Head coach Justin Gibert and the volleyball team will honor Whittaker prior to Saturday’s match against McNeese.

With a veteran presence like Whittaker on the left side, the Lady Cards have turned to a young duo of middle blockers to provide the rest of the offense. Cortney Moore is second on the team in kills with 2.57 per set, and Chelsea Grant is third at 1.54. Both also rank as the team’s best blockers, and Grant’s average of 1.18 stoppers per frame ranks 12th nationally among freshmen.

With Grant and Moore playing defense at the net, the floor has been protected by the trio of Molly Duge, Erika Rojas and Megan Schwartz. Schwartz, who has spent time at both outside hitter and libero this season, leads the team with 3.65 digs per set. Rojas and Duge average 2.05 and 2.93, respectively.

First serve on Thursday is scheduled for 7 p.m., and Saturday’s match will start at 1 p.m.




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