- Staff Reporter
- Photo Credit: Chris Reich, NSU Photographic Services
HAMMOND, Louisiana – They say that defense wins championships. If Thursday’s performance by the Northwestern State defense is any indication, the Lady Demons could be in for an exciting season.
NSU (13-7, 5-1 SLC) took care of Southeastern Louisiana (8-11, 3-3 SLC) in straight sets 25-22, 25-15, 28-26, picking up its fifth overall and third consecutive on the road, conference win.
“Defense was absolutely the key to us winning tonight,” head coach Sean Kiracofe said. “Megan (Lohmiller) led the way but everyone in the back row made some great plays.
Haley (Hoang) hasn’t been getting a lot of recognition because of other great performances at different times this year. She made some clutch defensive plays, and when SLU started to get more aggressive serving, she stepped up to nail some passes in very important moments. It won’t show up on the box score but she had a huge match.”
The battle for the first set began early with the Lions jumping out to an 11-6 lead with a 5-0 run. NSU tied the frame at 15, which placed the momentum squarely with the Demons.
A pair of late key blocks from Reagan Lee and Skylar Besch and Lee and Darria Williams quickly ended the Southeastern threat and pushed the Lady Demons to the 25-22 set win.
Close play early in the second turned into an NSU runaway midway through the set. A more efficient Lady Demon offense, coupled with more quality defensive plays, and Southeastern errors made easy work of the 25-15 NSU set win.
NSU continued its steady play in the third, even with SLU finding their rhythm again from the first. The Lady Demons had seven attack errors in the first set, and only six total in the second and third combined, hitting better than .333 in both sets.
The biggest change in the match came between the first and second as the Lady Demons were able to slow down SLU’s top offensive threat after seven kills in the opening set. She only managed five the rest of the match,
“There were some slight adjustments defensively but our block got more disciplined as we started to get familiar with what SLU was doing,” Kiracofe said. “That made it easier on our defense and we took off from there.
“In the third, SLU was really aggressive serving which made us predictable offensively. I couldn’t be more proud with how we stayed under control and fought our way back to take the match in three.”
NSU trailed 21-17 in the third as the Lions tried to force a fourth set and prevent the sweep. The Lady Demons worked their way back and with back-to-back kills from Besch and Hannah Brister, tied the set at 24, staving off two set points in the process.
An attack error by SLU gave the Lady Demons the 27-26 lead allowing Kourtney Seaton to finish the match on her fourth kill of the match.
Lohmiller recorder her sixth 20-dig match of the season and fourth in her last six matches. Alexis Warren had her eighth kill-dig double-double of the season with 13 kills and 11 digs.
The Lady Demons play at Central Arkansas next Tuesday before returning to Prather Coliseum the following Saturday to host McNeese.
Stay connected to NSU volleyball by following @NSUDemonsVB on Twitter or Instagram or by liking Northwestern State volleyball on Facebook.
Article sourced from provided press release.