Saturday, February 13, 2021

From the Sideline: SFA 3, McNeese 0 [Match Summary]

 Nacogdoches - It took only 73 minutes for the Ladyjacks of SFA Volleyball to completely lasso the Cowgirls of McNeese as SFA completed its second sweep of the week with a 25-19, 25-15, 25-13 victory.  SFA improves to 4-0 in Southland Conference play and 16-4 overall on the 2020-2021 campaign.  After a competitive first set, SFA cruised in the final two frames and were never pushed by the Cowgirls down the stretch.

SFA went back to freshman Ielan Bradley to hit from the right during the rotations where sophomore Payton Cerny was off the floor.  Last Thursday, the 'Jacks mixed and matched in that spot.  Bradley responded with six kills while hitting .556.  Early in the match, SFA Head Coach Debbie Humphreys tabbed sophomore transfer Kennedy Wright to play in freshman OH Leah Powell's back row spots, but then later in the match freshman DS Bryli Contreras returned to her DS role in that spot.  Contreras was not used against Lamar.

Powell was the bright spot on offense for SFA as she racked up 14 kills on 28 swings hitting a stellar .357 for the match.  Taya Mitchell, efficient as always, knocked down seven kills on 11 swings while hitting .545.  With that effort, Mitchell is now hitting just shy of .400 for the entire season.  McNeese struggled mightily on offense during sets 2 and 3 committing more errors than kills amassed and finishing the match overall at an even .000 attack percentage.  The struggles in large part were due to adjustments needed for having their two primary outside hitters out on COVID protocols.  Neither Regan Stiawalt nor Alexis Lambert travelled on the Abilene-Nacogdoches trip.  To compensate, McNeese shifted setter Baylee Laskoskie to the L1 spot while still running a 6-2 offense using freshman Ceci Harness setting opposite senior setter Caitlin Sharrock.  Things clicked in the first set for McNeese as they hit  .241 and found scoring opportunities in the middle with both Lauren Burt and Jaiden Kennedy as well as three kills in set 1 from 6'4" right side hitter Kendall Glueck.

But after surviving the first set with a late push, SFA wouldn't allow the Cowgirls to get close in the final two frames.  SFA raced out to a 10-5 lead in set 2, held Glueck to just two kills in the last two sets and coupled with poorer passing by the Cowgirls, the 'Jacks were able to cruise to big set wins and complete the sweep.

One bright spot for McNeese was net defense as Kennedy got five blocks and the Cowgirls out blocked SFA 10-8 for the match.  Despite that advantage, the offensive numbers were incredibly lopsided in favor of SFA.  The 'Jacks killed 41 balls compared to only 19 for McNeese.  The Cowgirls got only four and five kills, respectively in the last two sets.  Overall, McNeese has no one with more than five kills for the match (Laskoskie and Glueck).

SFA libero Maddie Miller was well positioned all night and had a lot of easy reads for digs as her 16 scoops led all.  Complementing Powell, Mitchell and Bradley on offense, sophomore Ariana Pagan had six kills and Cerny had five.  Powell's 14 kills were two shy of her season and career high. Pagan also contributed 13 digs in just three sets of work.  Setter Sharrock led the Cowgirls in digs with nine.

SFA has next week off from competition as the next scheduled match for the 'Jacks falls on Thursday, February 25 as they host the Privateers from UNO.  That match will be carried live on ESPN+.  The next day, SFA will travel to Abilene and take on the Wildcats of ACU on Saturday, February 27.  The match against Abilene Christian will be carried here on SFAVolleyBlog Radio.