Sept. 8, 2017
RUSTON, La. – The Louisiana Tech women’s volleyball team began the 2017 home portion of the schedule on a high note, snagging wins over both Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Memphis to kick off the Lady Techster Invitational from the Thomas Assembly Center.
UAPB Box Score
Memphis Box Score
The Techsters (3-5) made their home debut against the Golden Lions of Arkansas-Pine Bluff (1-8). Tech made short work of its first opponent, downing UAPB in straight sets (25-15, 25-15, 25-19) for the first sweep of the season.
The Techsters’ strong defense was key in this victory, as Pine Bluff never mustered more than 19 points in any of the match’s three sets.
In the nightcap, Tech stood toe-to-toe with a tough Memphis (3-5) squad that had previously taken out Sam Houston State (2-7) in five sets. Tech would not need five in this one however, polishing off the Tigers in four (16-25, 25-23, 25-16, 25-22), and notching the first winning streak of the season in the process.
“We played two very important matches today,” head coach Adriano de Souza remarked. “I am very proud of how the entire team focused in and helped each other in both contests.”
Match 1 Recap
In their first home match of the season, the Techsters came out firing on all cylinders. Both teams were fairly even for the first 18 points before Tech opened up a 7-0 run, turning a 10-8 lead into a 17-8 edge. Tech never looked back and would cruise to a 25-15, first-set triumph.
The second set saw much of the same, as another 5-0 run midway through the frame, proved to be the difference in another 25-15 victory.
Tech impressively put its foot down in the third set, ensuring there would be no comeback for the Golden Lions and snagged the set and the match.
Even without the pair of Marta Monne and Marie-Helene Verlinden, Tech used an overall team effort to get the job done and earn their first home win of the season.
Six players posted multiple-kill efforts (most this season) and no player racked up more than eight kills, speaking to the depth and trust this team shares with each other. Carter Mirich and Gina Cortesi each posted eight kills, leading the team, while Maddy Davis added seven of her own along with three blocks.
Brooke Short's 12 assists were a team best in the contest, while libero Jacie McClure notched 21 more digs.
“We had a great opportunity in our first match of the day, added de Souza. “With a couple of our players not playing, it gave us the chance to play various players from up and down our roster, and they all contributed for a great victory against a tenacious Arkansas-Pine Bluff squad.”
Match 2 Recap
In the nightcap, Tech fans saw no letup from their squad. In fact, the win earlier in the day seemed to fuel the Techsters to some of the best volleyball they’ve played this season.
However, Memphis was the team to beat early on, as the Tigers rushed out to a 7-2 lead that they would never relinquish en-route to a 25-16 first-set win. Kelsea Bivins led the way for Memphis in that first frame, claiming four kills on an efficient six attempts.
The second set was a different story, as Tech showed they were not going to be pushed around on their home floor. Memphis once again took a five-point lead at 10-5, but an ace from Verlinden and a thunderous kill from Davis drew the Techsters even at 10. The rest of the set would be a back-and-forth affair as neither team seemed to be able to gain the edge it was looking for. At 23-23, Tech stood strong at the net as Davis chipped in with Cortesi and Monne for a pair of dominating blocks that gave Tech the edge it needed in the 25-23 second-set win.
Tied at one, the momentum seemed to take a turn as the Techsters took the third set without much resistance. An early 10-4 lead helped take a stranglehold on the set that the Tigers could not overcome.
Looking to close out their second win of the day, the Techsters turned it up another notch and displayed gritty volleyball in the fourth. The Tech offense came to life in the frame, striking at a .375 clip (its highest of the match) all while pounding home 13 kills with just one attack error.
A final kill from Cortesi was the punctuation mark on the match and the night, sending Tech to its first winning streak of 2017.
“The second match of the day was a battle," de Souza concluded. “Our offense was very balanced and we received a strong effort from the entire team on the task of blocking and defense. I’m glad we were able to finish the match strong and claim a victory against a very strong and respectable Memphis team.”
Tech will close out the Lady Techster Invitational tomorrow at 12 p.m. CT taking on Sam Houston State in the finale. All matches are streamed live on CUSA.tv ($) and live stats can always be found at LATechSports.com.