NACOGDOCHES, Texas – A promising start evaporated quickly and the McNeese State Cowgirls knocked off the Ladyjack volleyball team, 3-1 (21-25, 26-24, 27-25, 25-21) on Thursday at Johnson Coliseum.
The loss eliminates the Ladyjacks (11-19, 4-11) from the field of eight at the Southland Conference Tournament for the first time in the program's history. McNeese State (14-16, 8-7) has now won seven of its last eight matches overall and will take on Sam Houston on Saturday in their final regular season match of the season.
MC Bottles led all players with 19 kills, misfiring just twice on 37 swings for a .459 hitting percentage and helping lead SFA to a .214 attack percentage as a team for the evening. Sabrina Burns and Arielle Daron were the only other Ladyjacks in double figures with Burns registering 13 kills and four blocks and Daron hitting for 10 kills. Freshman Leslie Jackson had a solid night across the board with seven kills and just one error on 22 attacks (.273) and getting her hand on six of SFA's 11 rejections.
Allison Gideon had 43 assists and six assists, and Melissa Miksch dug 25 balls on the night to lead all players.
The Cowgirls had four players with at least 11 kills and setter Becky Bekelja dished out 59 assists and led the Cowgirls to a .243 attack percentage, marking the fifth straight match in which a Ladyjack opponent hit at least .230 for the match.
The Ladyjacks hit their highest percentage of the night for a single set in the first frame, swinging .275 behind four kills from Bottes; however, the Cowgirls were even better in the second set at .310 and fought off a late SFA rally to squeeze out the second frame by two points.
The third set saw SFA lead nearly the entire way, holding a 24-21 edge late in the set, but the Cowgirls managed to fight off three straight set points and eventually cashed in on their second set-point try to steal the second set and a 2-1 advantage.
Jackson, Bottles and Monica Pannone all landed scores early in the fourth as SFA scored the first six points of the set before the Cowgirls began to get going. The Ladyjacks still maintained the lead until late in the set with a 19-17 advantage after Gideon found the floor on a quick attack after a pass from Miksch. But McNeese was able to score eight of the next 10 points, seven of which were via kills and closed out the match on a swing from Regina Trapp.