SFA Ladyjacks best Nicholls 3-0, extend winning streak to 20

SFA Ladyjacks best Nicholls 3-0, extend winning streak to 20
(Source: SFA Athletics)

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - From SFA Athletics:

Senior outside hitter Haley Coleman pounded down 10 terminations and finished with a sterling attack percentage of .556 while the SFA volleyball team hit .353 as a group to get by a scrappy Nicholls squad 3-0 inside Shelton Gym Saturday afternoon.

With the win, the Ladyjacks extended the nation's second-longest active winning streak to 20 matches. It's SFA's first winning streak of 20 or more matches since 2006 and makes the Ladyjacks one of three NCAA Division I volleyball teams with active winning streaks of 20 or more matches (BYU and Pittsburgh are the others). With the win, SFA improved to 23-2 and 10-0 in Southland Conference play. The win helped the Ladyjacks remain one match ahead of both Abilene Christian and Sam Houston State who are tied for second place in the league standings with 9-1 conference records.

SET ONE | SFA 25, Nicholls 21• Nicholls, surprisingly, led throughout the early stages of the opening frame but a .417 attack percentage by the Ladyjacks ensured that the Colonels wouldn't obtain an early lead. • The Colonels used runs of 3-0 and 4-0 in the infancy of the match to jump out to an 11-9 lead before a 7-2 spurt by the Ladyjacks put the home team in front for the rest of the frame. Through that scoring spree, Coleman and senior middle blocker Makenzee Hanna pounded down two terminations each while Sabrina Monaco added the last of SFA's three service aces in the frame. • Displaying a never-say-die attitude, the Colonels fought back time and time again and cut SFA's lead to just two points on two occasions. Katie Jones slammed down her fourth and final kill of the set to cut the Ladyjacks' lead to 23-21 but Nicholls' fourth service error of the set followed by a mighty kill off the mitts of Anyia Williams finished things for SFA.

SET TWO | SFA 25, Nicholls 20• Once again the Colonels used a sizable run to take an early lead, but just like what transpired in the opening frame the home team had the answer. • Four players put down kills and Kylie Lockhart served up an ace for Nicholls during its 7-2 scoring spree that put the Ladyjacks at a 14-10 disadvantage. Out of an SFA timeout, however, three unforced errors by the Colonels and another kill by Anyia Williams represented a 4-0 run by the home team that tied things at 14.• Nicholls retook the lead for a brief moment after McKenzier Brewer committed a service error that put SFA in a 15-14 hole but a 5-1 SFA run capped with another service ace from Monaco helped the home team go up 19-16.• Hanna and junior middle blocker Danae Daron combined for a trio of kills during SFA's 6-3 run to close the set while Coleman and Daron combined for the Ladyjacks' lone block of the set during that stretch. SFA hit .303 in the frame and held the Colonels to a clip of just .091.

SET THREE | SFA 25, Nicholls 16• Wanting to play at least four sets, Nicholls against controlled things through the first half of the set before SFA regained its composure on the strong serving presence of junior outside hitter Xariah Williams later on in the final frame. • Nicholls led 15-14 following a terminations from Heidi Carpenter that broke a 14-14 deadlock. From there, however, SFA asserted itself in a big way by embarking on a match-clinching 11-1 run to end the match. • Coleman, Ann Hollas and Anyia Williams each fired in a pair of terminations during that run while Xariah Williams added a termination of her own to go along with her third and final service ace of the match. Those three service aces represent a career-high for the Arlington, Texas, product. • SFA held the Colonels to an attacking clip of .077 in the frame while hitting .357.

KEY PERFORMERS/STATISTICS OF NOTE• With a pair of strong serving teams going at it, the service game played a big part in the final tally. SFA and Nicholls combined for 22 service errors but 12 by the Colonels helped SFA's causein a match that was decided by a total of 18 points. • Xariah Williams finished with three of SFA's five aces while Monaco chipped in the other two. Lockhart and Emily Venable served up two aces each for the Colonels who also finished with five winners from the service line. • Coleman was just one player on the Ladyjacks' roster who hit .350 or better Saturday afternoon. Hanna accumulated seven terminations on the strength of a .462 attacking clip. Anyia Williams chipped in six kills to go along with her match-high five block assists. • Monaco added a team-high 10 digs to go along with her pair of service aces. Those 10 digs helped SFA hold the Colonels to an attack percentage of .119 and the Ladyjacks have now held 11 consecutive foes under a .200 attack percentage. • Hollas passed out 16 assists while Brewer added 15 for the Ladyjacks who extended their home winning streak to 13 matches with Saturday's victory. The latter finished two digs shy of a double-double and Xariah Williams also totaled eight digs. • Aaliyah Burras and Heidi Carpenter each slammed home seven terminations while Jones finished with a team-high eight for the Colonels who dropped their seventh-straight match. • As a team, SFA's hitting percentage of .353 was its highest since hitting .300 against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi back on Saturday, Sept. 29. It's also the eighth time this season SFA has hit .300 or better in a match.

QUOTABLE

SFA head coach Debbie Humphreys on the play of Haley Coleman | “We were able to give Haley some time off in the back row tonight and she really stepped up and shined offensively for us tonight.”…on the difficulty Nicholls' middle blockers gave SFA | “Their middles did a really nice job. We knew if they were in system that their middles were going to cause us problems so we kept trying to keep them out of system. We told our team, if they have a good pass, you have to expect the middles to get the ball. Early on we didn’t really pay attention to that and when we made the adjustment we slowed them down just a little bit in the end.”…on the effectiveness of SFA’s offense | “Offensively we did a great job. Everything we had was working, but in the first set we kept shooting ourselves in the foot at the service line by not being able to get any runs going. Toward the end of the third, when Xariah served a lot of balls aggressively we were able to put them away but we hadn’t been able to do that up until that point.”…on the current winning streak and what to expect in the future | “We’re going to get every team at its best and everyone wants to the the team to knock us off. Because of that, we’re going to have to sharpen up what we’re doing. We have a very difficult road trip coming up against two teams that are playing very good volleyball, so it’s imperative that we maintain our focus and continue to work on the little things.”

COMING UP NEXT• Lake Charles, La., is the destination for the Ladyjacks who play a pair of matches on the road next week. The first of those matches pits SFA against McNeese Thursday evening at 6:30 p.m., and the Cowgirls have won six of their past nine matches.

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