Aug. 26, 2017
OXFORD, Miss. – The Louisiana Tech volleyball team dropped their final pair of matches at the Rebel Invitational on Saturday. The Lady Techsters began the day with a strong effort against an experienced North Dakota squad, but fell just short, 3-1. In the tournament finale, Chattanooga raced out of the gates quickly and staked a 3-0 win against Tech.
Box Score 1
Box Score 2
“Our team was very competitive in three matches this weekend against all very good teams,” head coach Adriano de Souza said. “Our last match, also against a very good team, showed our youth and inexperience a bit. We are playing a in a tournament with very experienced teams and points are not going to come easy for us. We’re going to have to work for everything we earn.”
One of the bright spots for Tech was Marta Monne, who finished the weekend with 50 kills, good for 2.94 per set, best of any Techster. Her 61 digs were second best on the squad only to libero, Jacie McClure. A pair of freshman also stuffed the stat sheets in their collegiate debut weekends, including Gina Cortesi (47 kills), and Marie-Helene Verlinden (16 blocks).
North Dakota 3, Louisiana Tech 1
Gina Cortesi got off to a hot start in the first, collecting three of Tech’s first six kills. The Tech offense rallied around the young rookie and put together one of the more efficient sets of the season. The squad hit at a .417 clip and five players registered two or more kills in the frame. A thunderous block from Marie-Helene Verlinden slammed the door on the first set, 25-20. 4
"I think we really played well in this match against a very competitive North Dakota team because we were well rested, de Souza noted. "We had fresh legs and were aggressive and focused throughout. I really liked our effort and determination we showed against a strong program.”
The well-organized offensive effort continued into the second, as Tech took an early 10-8 lead. Shortly after, however, North Dakota came to life, seemingly energized by a quick 4-1 run bringing their lead to 15-11. A back-and-forth affair ensued throughout the rest of the set, until the Fighting Hawks impressively fought off four separate set points to take the second set.
After hitting .417 in the first and .326 in the second, the Tech offense cooled down considerably in the third and fourth sets, hitting just .125 in the third and .195 in the fourth. Madeline Davis stepped up on the defensive end for Tech, notching her fifth block of the match in the third frame. At one point in the set, Tech had out-blocked North Dakota, 9-2, successfully establishing a presence at the net.
In the third, it was Tech’s turn to fight off set points, as the squad battled away three winning points for North Dakota, eventually trying the set at 24. However, the comeback effort was thwarted after an ace gave the Fighting Hawks the 27-25 edge to take a 2-1 lead in the match.
Marta Monne and Cortesi carried the load for the Tech offense in the fourth, but a .278 hitting percentage coupled with Tech’s offense cooling down to hit just .195, gave North Dakota all it needed to take the set and the match.
Monne continued her scorching hot weekend, compiling 18 more kills along with 11 digs for her third straight double-double. Continuing to impress in her debut weekend, was the rookie Cortesi, who posted a double-double of her own with 15 kills and 10 digs. Jacie McClure remained strong defensively, with a match-best 23 digs, while Brooke Short added a 20-dig, 47-assist double-double effort.
Chattanooga 3, Louisiana Tech 0
Tech fell to Chattanooga, 3-0 to close out the Rebel Invitational on Saturday evening. The Techsters struggled to find an offensive rhythm throughout the evening, but battled in the final two sets, narrowly dropping both by just a couple points (25-23 in both).
“Today in our final match of the day (against Chattanooga) I believe we were tired," de Souza concluded. "It was a combination of being tired and looking past our opponent hurt us. This is something that our four seniors need to work on – leading the team by example and not judging any team that we play. I have faith that this team can do what it takes because we have a lot of players who are competitive and who will follow a positive mindset.”
Marta Monne, Gina Cortesi and Madeline Davis each posted eight kills for Tech in the final contest of the tournament. Defensively, Monne and McClure racked up 13 digs each while limiting the Mocs to just a .048 hitting percentage in the final frame.
Tech will take a week of practice and rest before heading to Beaumont, Texas, next weekend for the Lamar Invitational. Stay tuned to LATechVB on Twitter for any schedule updates or adjustments.