- Staff Reporter
THIBODAUX, La. — Despite a six-match losing streak hanging over the program, the Nicholls State University women’s volleyball team (7-6, 1-1 Southland) composed a resilient performance in Saturday afternoon’s Southland Conference home opener, fighting off nine match points by McNeese (7-7, 0-Southland) in the decisive fifth set before sealing the eventual victory by a 22-20 margin at Stopher Gym in Thibodaux, La. The back-and-forth contest saw both squads nearly equal in every major statistical category, including kills (59-to-59), service aces (6-to-6), assists (53-to-53), blocks (12-to-11, Nicholls favor) and digs (74-to-71, Nicholls favor).
KEY STORYLINES & STATISTICS (W 3-2)
— The league win serves as the first for the program in just over one year, as the 2018 Colonels picked up their lone Southland victory 366 days ago on Sept. 27 against Southeastern Louisiana, sweeping the Lady Lions by a 3-0 margin.
— For the match, three of the five sets ended by just a two-point differential — including both the fourth (25-23 McNeese) and fifth (22-20 Nicholls) sets — with the largest margin of victory coming by the Cowgirls during the second, notably winning by eight (25-17).
— Offensively, the Red & Gray spread the load amongst four major contributors, as sophomores OH Emily Gauthreaux (16), RS Katie Jones (13) & MB Aaliyah Burras (12) led the way with a combined 41 kills while junior OH Kate Hoerdemann also dipped into double-digits, picking up 11 on the day. In terms of clutch performances, both Jones & Burras played key roles in the fifth set, as the former erased match point opportunities by McNeese on two occasions while the latter did so once in addition to setting up the Colonels’ only match point of the contest.
— Junior Meghan Wozniak continued to fly under the radar as the team’s primary setter, posting 47 assists in the win along with eight digs, two kills and one service ace.
— Defensively, Hoerdemann shouldered a majority of the digging responsibilities, notching a team-best 22 while sophomore DS Kylie Lockhart, Gauthreaux & senior L Emily Venable combined on the match for 36.
— The Red & Gray also saw a considerable improvement in terms of blocking, as Burras closed out the day with four solo & three assists while Hoerdemann & junior MB Kimberly Iwunze each slotted two solo.
After wrapping up the league contest against the Cowgirls, the Red & Gray shift focus to the latter-half of their two-match home stand, hosting rival Southeastern Louisiana on Tuesday, Oct. 1 at 7 p.m. in Stopher Gym.
For more information on Colonels Volleyball, follow the team on Twitter (@Nicholls_VB), Instagram (@nicholls_vb) and like their Facebook page (Nicholls Volleyball).
Article sourced from provided press release.