- Staff Reporter
MONROE, La. – Finally getting to play at home after a month on the road, the ULM Warhawks outlasted McNeese State in four sets, 3-1, before sweeping Alcorn State, 3-0, Sunday afternoon at Fant-Ewing Coliseum.
“It felt great to be back home,” head coach Charlie Olson said. “If you can get away from traveling, even for a day or two, it’s a relief.”
ULM (9-5) battled McNeese (7-5) to start the afternoon and got down in set one early. However, on the backs of Mikaela Worley and Kate Blasingame, the Warhawks were able to mount an early comeback. Worley ended the day with 19 kills and Blasingame ended the day with 16 kills.
Midway through the set, the two teams traded points with each other before ULM took a slight lead. Both teams stayed nearly even until the Warhawks pulled out a set one win, 25-23.
“We executed the game plan perfectly,” Olson said. “We came in and served tough and handed them their first reception errors. We used playing in a larger facility to our advantage.”
ULM started set two off strong, with great sets by Darby Fisher and McKinley Thiede. Fisher ended the afternoon with 37 assists and Thiede ended the day with 36 assists.
McNeese stayed close with the Warhawks, but ULM pulled away when Ina Gosen took charge at the net. Gosen had six solo blocks and one block assist during the McNeese game. ULM won set two, 25-21.
“Usually, if you serve well, you block well, and that’s what we did,” Olson said.
The Cowgirls started set three out strong with a monster lead and stayed in control the majority of the set. However, the Warhawks made a comeback, but it wasn’t enough as McNeese took set three, 25-23.
The battle took a lot out of both teams, but ULM took charge in set four behind the fantastic digs of Albany Schaffer and Blasingame. Blasingame ended the two games with 32 digs and Schaffer ended with 26 digs.
ULM stayed in control and won set four, 25-15 to win the game, 3-1.
After the Warhawks battled McNeese, ULM looked ahead to Alcorn State (2-7) later in the afternoon. Blasingame took charge at the service line and nailed three aces to bring her total to five on the evening. The Warhawks won set one handily, 25-9.
ULM wasn’t done and continued to roll during the second set as well. Blasingame wasn’t the only one commanding the service line as Fisher nailed three aces of her own. The Warhawks won set two, 25-12.
The Lady Braves wouldn’t go down without a fight and started out set three with a big lead. Midway through the set, it looked like the two teams would be headed for a fourth set, but ULM mounted a comeback to tie the game.
“We’ve had lots of travel, it’s tiring and we’re at the point in the semester where academics start playing a factor, but our team is deep and anybody can step up to close out a match for us,” Olson said.
In a furious race to the finish and with the crowd getting behind the Warhawks, ULM dug deep and found a way to pull the sweep off and win set three, 29-27.
The Warhawks enter Sun Belt Conference play starting with a 6:30 p.m. match Friday at UT Arlington.
“We ended preseason on a high note and it gives us momentum going into UTA,” Olson said.
Links to live coverage, including live stats, for Friday’s game against UT-Arlington 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.