- Staff Reporter
MONROE, La. – Coming off of a 3-0 sweep of Grambling on Monday and a 3-1 record to start the season, the ULM Warhawks travel to Beaumont, Texas for the Katrinka Crawford Invitational at Lamar University, which opens Friday morning.
The Warhawks will take on South Dakota State on Friday at 10 a.m. and Prairie View A&M at 4 p.m. ULM will round the tournament out on Saturday against the host Cardinals at noon.
“Lamar is a different type of gym,” head coach Charlie Olson said. “It’s a very small facility and a very tough place to compete in. If you put 300 people in their gym, it fills it up.”
ULM has started out the season strong with precise play both offensively and defensively. The Warhawks will be led by Mikaela Worley who has 46 kills and 28 digs on the season. Worley will be joined by Kate Blasingame, who has netted 35 kills and 30 digs, along with Albany Schaffer, who is sitting at 32 digs and five service aces.
Worley and Blasingame also earned all-tournament recognition during the New Orleans Invitational last weekend.
Top setters for the Warhawks include McKinley Thiede and Darby Fisher who have a combined 111 assists. “The team did a really good job of coming away with positives from last weekend and found takeaways on where we needed to get better and used that to our advantage,” Olson said.
ULM’s first match against South Dakota State will be the first time the two teams have ever matched up. The Jackrabbits are 1-2 to start the season after losing to Memphis and Drake during the EIU Panther Invitational. Their only win came against the host Panthers, 3-1.
“They’re (SDSU) very similar to North Dakota from a size and physicality standpoint,” Olson said. South Dakota State will be led by senior Makenzie Hennen. Hennen has recorded 42 kills, 43 digs and six service aces to start the season. She will be joined by Crystal Burk, who has 42 kills, and Madison Foy. Foy has recorded 81 assists in three games. “We need to keep them out of system,” Olson said. “Serve them tough and rely on our defense to keep the ball in play and give us a chance to score.”
Later on Friday, the Warhawks will take on Prairie View A&M. ULM is 3-0 all-time against the Panthers with the last win coming in 2014 by way of a 3-0 sweep.
Prairie View A&M is 0-4 to start the season after losing all three games at the Sam Houston State Tournament. The Panthers then lost 0-3 against Houston Baptist a few days later. “We’ve found that Prairie View is similar to Arkansas-Pine Bluff,” Olson said. “Very athletic and very good at the net. They had tough competition last weekend and took every team to their limit.” Prairie View A&M is led by CeTara Carter, Jaylen Thomas and Victoria Pearson. The three ladies have 104 kills combined. Carter also has 12 blocks and will be joined by Jakarta Hope, who leads the team with 79 assists.
ULM will round the tournament out on Saturday against the Lamar Cardinals. The only game the two teams have played against each other ended with a win for the Warhawks, 3-2, back in 2015.
Lamar is 1-2 to start the season after losing to Fordham and Georgia State during the GSU Invitational. Their only win of the weekend came against Western Carolina in a 3-0 sweep. “Lamar is scrappy, very good at the net and utilize their home-court advantage,” Olson said. “It’s an exciting time to play them.”
Links to live coverage, including live stats, for the Katrinka Crawford Invitational can be found on the volleyball schedule page at ULMWarhawks.com. Follow along with all things Warhawk Volleyball on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram at @ULM_VB.
Article sourced from provided press release.